Thesis

Acquisition of some negative structures in older children

This study investigates the development of the negative affix, -un, and the inherent negative as in doubt and deny in environments with other negative elements. The purpose was to discover if there is a sequence of acquisition of such structures on the basis of psycholinguistic tests administered to eight-, ten-, and twelve-year-old children. These children generally understand the use of the negative affix by age eight. When the negative affix combined with another negative form, as in “He is not unhappy,” it is more difficult for them to understand,but some subjects in all age groups are able to do so. The comprehension of this structure seems to be based the individual subject's capacity for language rather than age. See more in text.

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