Emergent clause-combining in adult-child interactional contexts

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The study analyzes early clause-combining (CC) complex syntax of three Hebrew-acquiring girls in self-initiated autonomous constructions compared to three types of interlocutor-supported contexts – by means of Affirmations (encouraging comments), Scaffolding (structural prompts), and Co-Construction (adult-child clause-combining adjacency pairs). Two of the girls show a marked rise in self-initiated use of explicitly-marked canonical CC constructions along with a concurrent increase in reliance on interlocutor-supported contexts. The third child, who progressed more slowly in producing such autonomous CC constructions, also received relatively little supportive input overall. These findings for an increase in canonical CC usage together with a rise in reliance on supportive contexts suggest that interactive contexts play a role in advancing the consolidation of early complex syntax.


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