Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-8706
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8714
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Multiword sequences (MWSs) are units between words and sentences, which can help people to achieve native-like proficiency in a language. However, the extent to which Chinese native (L1) speakers, especially preschool children in the midst of language development, comprehend and process MWSs remains uncertain. While previous research has primarily focused on the distributional properties of MWSs, whether Chinese preschool children exhibit sensitivity to the distributional information of MWSs requires further examination. In addition, the potential influence of structural types on such sensitivity has received limited attention. This study examined Chinese preschool children’s sensitivity to distributional information and structural types of MWSs when processing Mandarin MWSs. Participants performed an imitating-production task. Linear mixed-effects models revealed that children were sensitive to two types of distributional information of MWSs: MWS frequency and MWS contingency. Intriguingly, no evidence was found to suggest sensitivity to the structural types of MWSs. Furthermore, the findings demonstrated not only the continuous effects of MWS frequency and contingency but also an interaction between these two factors. This study thus indicates that during the processing of MWSs, the performance of Chinese preschool children is influenced by the distributional information of MWSs while remaining unaffected by structural types.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): contingency; frequency; multiword sequences; preschool children; structural types
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