Relative clause comprehension revisited: commentary on Eisenberg (2002) Academic Article uri icon


  • Eisenberg (2002) presents data from an experiment investigating three- and four-year-old children's comprehension of restrictive relative clauses (RC). From the results she argues, contrary to Hamburger & Crain (1982), that children do not have discourse knowledge of the felicity conditions of RCs before acquiring the syntax of relativization. This note evaluates this conclusion on the basis of the methodology used, and proposes that an account of syntactic development needs to be sensitive to the real-time processing requirements acquisition places on the learner.

publication date

  • August 2003