Multiunit sequences in first language acquisition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Theoretical and empirical reasons suggest that children build their language not only out of individual words but also out of multiunit strings. These are the basis for the development of schemas containing slots. The slots are putative categories that build in abstraction while the schemas eventually connect to other schemas in terms of both meaning and form. Evidence comes from the nature of the input, the ways in which children construct novel utterances, the systematic errors that children make, and the computational modeling of children's grammars. However, much of this research is on English, which is unusual in its rigid word order and impoverished inflectional morphology. We summarize these results and explore their implications for languages with more flexible word order and/or much richer inflectional morphology.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Early online date19 Apr 2017
StatePublished - 2017