Children’s Use of English Articles in Intransitive and Transitive Sentences
Received: Jun 22, 2022 ; Revised: Aug 23, 2022 ; Accepted: Aug 29, 2022
Published Online: Aug 31, 2022
This study presents new evidence that young children use English articles in an adult-like fashion, suggesting that children seem to know the function of English articles from the earliest observable ages. In adult language, indefinite NPs tend to appear in the subject position of intransitive verbs and the object position of transitive verbs. The study analyzes children’s early speech data for this pattern. The data consist of speech samples from six children, with mean lengths of utterances ranging from 2.0 to 3.1, and speech samples from six adults to provide a benchmark. The results demonstrate that in the data from both the adults and children, indefinite NPs with indefinite articles tend to appear in the subject position of intransitive verbs and the object position of transitive verbs, suggesting that very young children can use articles in similar patterns to those of adults.