Three large groups of Cantonese-speaking children were tested on their abilities to discriminate minimally contrastive syllables and comprehend certain grammatical structures in spoken sentences. Results from the younger (n = 130; mean age = 43.5 months), middle (n = 252; mean age = 53.2 months) and older children (n = 101; mean age = 63.3 months) converged in showing that: (1) the aspiration contrast was the most difficult to master, compared with the manner and place contrasts; (2) the Cantonese /n/-/l/ opposition had lost most of its contrastive value; (3) the active construction, which follows the basic Cantonese SVO word order, together with its negation, was acquired early;(4) perfective and plural marking were of medium difficulty; (5) passives were acquired very late; (6) non-obligatory future marking via the use of /wuj5/ was acquired very late. These results reinforce previous findings based on very small, or single-subject, samples in Cantonese and Mandarin child language. They also provide a frame of reference for the speech-and-hearing pathologist working with Cantonese-speaking children, in that clinical data could be interpreted in light of the present findings. Copyright © 2001 Informa UK Limited.
|Journal||Asia Pacific Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|