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J Child Lang. 1996 Feb;23(1):129-55.

Early passive acquisition in Inuktitut.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik, Nijmegen, Netherlands.


Passive structures are typically assumed to be one of the later acquired constructions in child language. English-speaking children have been shown to produce and comprehend their first simple passive structures productively by about age four and to master more complex structures by about age nine. Recent crosslinguistic data have shown that this pattern may not hold across languages of varying structures. This paper presents data from four Inuit children aged 2;0 to 3;6 that shows relatively early acquisition of both simple and complex forms of the passive. Within this age range children are productively producing truncated, full, action and experiential passives. Some possible reasons for this precociousness are explored including adult input and language structure.

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