Comprehension and production of subject-object order in semantically reversible sentences with animate or inanimate subject and object was studied in an object-manipulation paradigm. Three groups of five children each, average mean utterance length 1.8, 2.4, and 2.9 morphemes, respectively, participated. Children preserved subject-object order with respect to the verb significantly more often than they used ordering information to determine the event to be demonstrated; that is, grammatical production preceded comprehension. Comprehension of the subset of the sentences with animate subject and inanimate object was near 100%, however, suggesting the presence of semantic strategies for subject-object comprehension.
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Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, December 1, 1983; 5(4): 379 - 400.