7. First language acquisition of coordination: The mud-puddle study and beyond

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In this chapter, we provide a brief overview of a history of studies of coordination. We then report the results of one experiment concerning the acquisition of coordination in English that has not before been reported, “The Mud-Puddle” study, and set it in the context of this history and our developing quest for understanding the nature of linguistic coordination and the fundamental competence that underlies its acquisition. This experiment was conducted by an honors student at Cornell at the time (Krawiec 1980); its data have been preserved and now reanalyzed. Its results, although preliminary, bear on the nature of the syntax-semantics interface that coordinate structures involve, integrate with certain current theoretical advances, and suggest future research possibilities.


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