General programme, activity sheet

Wednesday 7 September, 2016 Poster
Acquisition of prepositions and question words in Czech – a parent-report study
Speaker: Stepan Matejka, Charles University in Prague

Authors: Stepan Matejka, Filip Smolik


In Czech, there are almost no empirical studies concerning the acquisition of grammatical words and forms by children. Our poster presents data about acquisition of prepositions and question words (QW) produced by children between 18 and 48 months of age. The study is based on parental reports (Fenson et al., 1993, 2006). This method is often used for the assessment of vocabulary; our study aims to extend the use of questionnaires to the study of function words and grammatical morphemes. We collected the data through two web-based questionnaires completed by the children’s mothers, and focused on children’s spontaneous production of prepositions and QW. Besides the prepositions and QW, we also included questions about children’s expressive vocabulary and the grammatical complexity of their utterances. Some demographic data were collected as well. In total, we obtained data on 118 children (average age 32 months) for the prepositions questionnaire, and on 106 children (average age 30.5 months) for the question-words questionnaire. Our analyses conformed that the total number of acquired prepositions and QW strongly correlate with the age of children, but even more with children’s expressive vocabulary and grammatical complexity of their utterances (similarly for example Marchman et al., 2004). Mixed–effects logistic regressions showed that age, children’s expressive vocabulary, and grammatical complexity have a strong independent effect on number of prepositions and QW produced by children. We used the random effects from the mixed logistic model to estimate relative difficulty of individual prepositions and QW. The linear model analyses examined the effects of various factors, such us gender, birth order and parent education, on the order of acquisition. Only maternal education showed a significant, albeit weak, effect on the acquisition of QW. References: FENSON, L., DALE, P. S., REZNICK, J. S., THAL, D., BATES, E., HARTUNG, J. P., PETHICK, S., REILLY, J. S. (1993): MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories: User’s Guide and Technical Manual. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group. FENSON, L., MARCHMAN, V. A., THAL, D. J., DALE, P. S., REZNICK, J. S., BATES, E. (2006): MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories: User’s Guide and Technical Manual (Second edition). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing. MARCHMAN, V. A., MARTÍNEZ-SUSSMANN, C., DALE, P. S. (2004): The language-specific nature of grammatical development: evidence from bilingual language learners. Development Science 7:2, p. 212–224.
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Coffee break and poster session
Place: Hall First floor area A

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10:30 h. to 11:30 h.Coffee break

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