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Statistical approach suggests toddlers’ grammar skills are learned, not innate

Medical X-Press – Alex Shashkevich

“Children’s ability to understand basic grammar early in language development has long puzzled scientists, creating a debate over whether that skill is innate or learned with time and practice. A new Stanford study, recently published in Psychological Science, helps build evidence for the latter. Analyzing toddlers’ early language with a novel statistical approach, associate professor of psychology Michael Frank found that rule-based grammatical knowledge emerges gradually with a significant increase around the age of 24 months. The new study, titled “The Emergence of an Abstract Grammatical Category in Children’s Early Speech,” also points out the need to gather more data that track children’s speech over time, which would help make future research more precise.”(more)

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