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Production--comprehension asymmetries and the acquisition of evidential morphology

Ünal, E., & Papafragou, A. (2016). Production--comprehension asymmetries and the acquisition of evidential morphology. Journal of Memory and Language, 89, 179-199. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2015.12.001.
Although children typically comprehend the links between specific forms and their mean- ings before they produce the forms themselves, the opposite pattern also occurs. The nat- ure of these ‘reverse asymmetries’ between production and comprehension remains debated. Here we focus on a striking case where production precedes comprehension in the acquisition of Turkish evidential morphology and explore theoretical explanations of this asymmetry. We show that 3- to 6-year-old Turkish learners produce evidential mor- phemes accurately (Experiment 1) but have difficulty with evidential comprehension (Experiment 2). Furthermore, comprehension failures persist across multiple tasks (Experiments 3–4). We suggest that evidential comprehension is delayed by the develop- ment of mental perspective-taking abilities needed to compute others’ knowledge sources. In support for this hypothesis, we find that children have difficulty reasoning about others’ evidence in non-linguistic tasks but the difficulty disappears when the tasks involve accessing one’s own evidential sources (Experiment 5)
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