Language-specific and language-general in developing syntax

Esther Dromi*, Ruth A. Berman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The distribution of a number of syntactic structures in the speech output of 102 Israeli preschoolers was examined. Findings on the proportion of grammatically analysable clauses, the patterning of word order in Hebrew child language, and the emergence of syntactic connectedness through coordination and subordination of clauses are reported. Our analysis reveals that while in some areas there are clearly age-related differences among preschool children, other types of syntactic patternings exhibit a stable behaviour. We refer to the importance of integrating findings for a wide variety of seemingly unrelated syntactic constructions across different discourse modes. We also claim that complex interactions between structural, semantic and pragmatic factors underlie the child's acquisition of syntax.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-387
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1986


FundersFunder number
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation


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