Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 September 2008
The present study tests the hypothesis that many of the grammatical errors that occur during the course of language development can serve as ‘auto-input’ leading directly to the acquisition of new expressive forms. A free-speech corpus of grammatically incorrect sentences was gathered from each of 4 four-year-old subjects. Three additional sets of sentences were constructed: sentences containing errors similar to those actually produced, sentences containing ‘baby errors’ and correct sentences. The children were asked to judge these sentences as correct or incorrect. Significantly fewer corrections were made in the sentences with subject-generated errors than in the sentences with similar errors or ‘baby errors’. These results can be explained by assuming that children learn their own errors.
Address for correspondence: Carole Butler Platt, Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208.