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  • Cited by 4
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Barbosa, Poliana Goncalves and Nicoladis, Elena 2016. Deverbal compound comprehension in preschool children. The Mental Lexicon, Vol. 11, Issue. 1, p. 94.

    민명숙, Jong Sup Jun, and Sun-Young Lee, 2014. A Study on the English-speaking Children’s Acquisition of Adjectival Compounds Based on CHILDES Corpus. Korean Journal of Linguistics, Vol. 39, Issue. 3, p. 405.

    Murphy, Victoria A. and Hayes, Jennifer 2010. Processing English Compounds in the First and Second Language: The Influence of the Middle Morpheme. Language Learning, Vol. 60, Issue. 1, p. 194.

    Brisard, Frank Laarman, Eva and Nicoladis, Elena 2008. Clausal order and the acquisition of Dutch deverbal compounds. Morphology, Vol. 18, Issue. 2, p. 143.


When answer-phone makes a difference in children's acquisition of English compounds

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 21 August 2006

Over the course of acquiring deverbal compounds like truck driver, English-speaking children pass through a stage when they produce ungrammatical compounds like drive-truck. These errors have been attributed to canonical phrasal ordering (Clark, Hecht & Mulford, 1986). In this study, we compared British and Canadian children's compound production. Both dialects have the same phrasal ordering but some different lexical items (e.g. answer-phone exists only in British English). If influenced by these lexical differences, British children would produce more ungrammatical Verb–Object (VO) compounds in trying to produce the more complex deverbal (Object–Verb-er) than the Canadian children. 36 British children between the ages of 3;6 and 5;6 and 36 age-matched Canadian children were asked to produce novel compounds (like sun juggler). The British children produced more ungrammatical compounds and fewer grammatical compounds than the Canadian children. We argue that children's errors in deverbal compounds may be due in part to competing lexical structures.

Corresponding author
Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford, OX2 6PY, UK. tel: +44 (0)1865 274042; fax: +44 (0)1865 274027; e-mail:
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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
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