Why Do Children Misunderstand Reversible Passives? The CHILD Program Learns to Understand Passive Sentences

Mallory Selfridge

As children learn language they initially misunderstand reversible passive sentences as if they were active sentences. This error is an important clue to possible mechanisms by which children learn to understand passives in general. This paper reports on how the CHILD program learns to understand passive sentences, initially misunderstanding reversible passives as it does so. It presents an explanation of children’s performance based on CHILD, and presents a number of predictions which follow from this explanation.


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