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Uncovering productive morphosyntax in French-learning toddlers: a multidimensional methodology perspective


The present study applies a multidimensional methodological approach to the study of the acquisition of morphosyntax. It focuses on evaluating the degree of productivity of an infrequent subject–verb agreement pattern in the early acquisition of French and considers the explanatory role played by factors such as input frequency, semantic transparency of the agreement markers, and perceptual factors in accounting for comprehension of agreement in number (singular vs. plural) in an experimental setting. Results on a pointing task involving pseudo-verbs demonstrate significant comprehension of both singular and plural agreement in children aged 2;6. The experimental results are shown not to reflect input frequency, input marker reliability on its own, or lexically driven knowledge. We conclude that toddlers have knowledge of subject–verb agreement at age 2;6 which is abstract and productive despite its paucity in the input.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Isabelle Barrière, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY 11201-8423, USA. tel: 718 780 6335 (cell); e-mail:
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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
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