S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 51 Number 1/3 (2015)
Korean Children’s Acquisition of Relative Clauses
- Kim, Chae-Eun
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.51 No.2, pp. 421-441
- relative clauses (RCs); noun phrase accessibility hierarchy(NPAH); L1 acquisition; production task
- Various studies have reported that subject relative clauses (the boy who likes the woman) are easier to produce and comprehend than object relatives (the boy that the woman likes). To expand this discussion, this study investigates young children’s production of head-final relative clauses in Korean. In particular, it is examined whether Korean children acquire relativization in the order predicted by Keenan and Comrie’s (1977) NPAH hypothesis. Data were collected from 21 monolingual Korean children (mean = 6;8) and 11 adults. An elicited production task was used to assess Korean children’s acquisition of RCs. The recorded responses were carefully coded and all data were included in statistical analysis. The results point toward a strong preference for subject relative clauses, which supports Keenan and Comrie’s NPAH hypothesis. The patterns of errors that the children made provide strong evidence for a subject-object asymmetry in children’s production difficulties with object relative clauses in Korean. Two factors are proposed to account for this asymmetry: an aversion to gaps and a canonical word order preference.