2-year-olds possess grammatical insights | Science News

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2-year-olds possess grammatical insights

Brain responses suggest that toddlers already know fundamental rules for using nouns and verbs

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5:40pm, July 1, 2009

Two-year-olds know more about grammar than they can say. Budding toddlers recognize the difference between nouns and verbs in simple sentences, even though the kids don’t utter such sentences for at least another year, say Anne Christophe of the Laboratory of Cognitive Sciences and Psycholinguistics in Paris and her colleagues.

Children begin to use two or more words at a time by age 2, but their statements are typically incomplete and show no signs of grammatical knowledge. Yet upon hearing a sentence in which a noun incorrectly replaces a verb, or a verb incorrectly replaces a noun, toddlers display split-second brain responses that signal

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