Predicting the development of interrogative forms and functions in early years

a corpus-based study of Mandarin-speaking young children

Hui Li*, Mengguo Jing, Eileen Chin Mei Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the development of and possible predictors of interrogative forms and functions in early childhood Mandarin. All the interrogatives drawn from the Early Child Mandarin Corpus (168 children 2;6, 3;6, 4;6, and 5;6) were analyzed. The main results indicated that (i) there were significant age effects in interrogative forms and functions, with the periods between the ages of 3;6 and 4;6 and between the ages of 2;6 and 3;6 being critical in the early acquisition of interrogative forms and functions, respectively; (ii) the form-function preference was verified, with wh-questions being primarily used to seek information (RfI), and intonation/echo and rhetorical questions being used to request action (RfA); (iii) more than half (59·5%) of the Mandarin interrogatives were used for RfI, whereas only 38·9% of them were used for RfA; and (iv) age, TV viewing time, and parent-child conversation time were the significant predictors of interrogative development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-238
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Predicting the development of interrogative forms and functions in early years: a corpus-based study of Mandarin-speaking young children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this