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The development of locative comprehension in Spanish*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Peggy S. Conner
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Robin S. Chapman
University of Wisconsin–Madison


Forty monolingual Spanish-speaking Peruvian children ages 3; 6–5; 5 were given a search task to test comprehension of six locative phrases depicting the four spatial relations in front of, in back of, beside and under. Performance improved with age and was best for under (debajo de) and poorest on beside (al costado de, al lado de). There was no evidence that locatives lacking object part terms (delante de for in front of and al costado de for beside) resulted in poorer performance than locatives that included the object part labels (enfrente de, al lado de). Nor was there evidence to support the positive pole hypothesis that in front of items would be easier than behind. Performance was best when the children themselves were the reference object, next best with a fronted object, and poorest with a nonfronted object, suggesting that preschoolers may understand projective locatives with respect to the reference object's intrinsic orientation, rather than imposing their own point of view.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1985

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