Two-yr-olds understand complex grammar

Study author Caroline Rowland was quoted by LiveScience as saying: “Recent research suggests that even at 21 months, infants are sensitive to the different meanings produced by particular grammatical construction, even if they can’t articulate words properly.”

For their study, Rowland and her colleagues showed a group of two-year-olds pictures of a cartoon rabbit and duck and asked each toddler to match the illustrations to sentences containing made-up verbs.

“One picture was the rabbit acting on the duck, lifting the duck’s leg, and the other was an image of the animals acting independently, such as swinging a leg,” Rowland said.

“We then played sentences with made-up verbs — the rabbit is glorping the duck — over a loudspeaker and asked them to point to the correct picture. They picked out the correct image more often than we would expect them to by chance.”

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