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Ambridge B.,University of Liverpool | Ambridge B.,International Center for Language and Communicative Development | Bidgood A.,University of Liverpool | Bidgood A.,International Center for Language and Communicative Development | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Participants aged 5;2-6;8, 9;2-10;6 and 18;1-22;2 (72 at each age) rated verb argument structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., ∗Daddy giggled the baby) using a five-point scale. The study was designed to investigate the feasibility of two proposed construction-general solutions to the question of how children retreat from, or avoid, such errors. No support was found for the prediction of the preemption hypothesis that the greater the frequency of the verb in the single most nearly synonymous construction (for this example, the periphrastic causative; e.g., Daddy made the baby giggle ), the lower the acceptability of the error. Support was found, however, for the prediction of the entrenchment hypothesis that the greater the overall frequency of the verb, regardless of construction, the lower the acceptability of the error, at least for the two older groups. Thus while entrenchment appears to be a robust solution to the problem of the retreat from error, and one that generalizes across different error types, we did not find evidence that this is the case for preemption. The implication is that the solution to the retreat from error lies not with specialized mechanisms, but rather in a probabilistic process of construction competition. © 2015 Ambridge et al. Source


Ambridge B.,University of Liverpool | Ambridge B.,International Center for Language and Communicative Development | Bannard C.,University of Liverpool | Bannard C.,International Center for Language and Communicative Development | Jackson G.H.,University of Liverpool
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | Year: 2015

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) aged 11–13 (N = 16) and an IQ-matched typically developing (TD) group aged 7–12 (N = 16) completed a graded grammaticality judgment task, as well as a standardized test of cognitive function. In a departure from previous studies, the judgment task involved verb argument structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., *Lisa fell the cup off the shelf) of the type sometimes observed amongst typically developing children, as well as grammatical control sentences with the same verbs (e.g., The cup fell off the shelf). The ASD group showed a smaller dispreference for ungrammatical sentences (relative to the control sentences) than did the TD group. These findings are indicative of a subtle grammatical impairment in even relatively high-functioning children with ASD. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

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