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Stereotype or grammar? The representation of gender when two-year-old and three-year-old french-speaking toddlers listen to role nouns

Published inJournal of child language, p. 1-18
Publication date2015
Abstract

Using a preferential looking paradigm, the current study examined the role that grammatical gender plays when preschool French-speaking toddlers process role nouns in the masculine form (e.g., chanteursmasculine ‘singers'). While being auditorily prompted with “Look at the ‘a role noun'!”, two- and three-year-olds were presented with two pictures of two characters (‘boy–boy' versus ‘girl–boy') with attributes of the given role noun (e.g., singers with microphone and music notes). All role nouns were presented in the masculine plural form, which, despite its use to refer to mixed-gender groups, can be interpreted as referring to men. We expected toddlers to be biased by stereotypes, yet when non-stereotypical role nouns were presented, toddlers were not influenced by grammatical gender, but by their own sex (even more so for three-year-old toddlers). The absence of sensitivity to grammatical cues for either age group is discussed in terms of the developmental awareness of grammatical gender.

Citation (ISO format)
LEVY, Arik et al. Stereotype or grammar? The representation of gender when two-year-old and three-year-old french-speaking toddlers listen to role nouns. In: Journal of child language, 2015, p. 1–18. doi: 10.1017/S030500091500063X
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ISSN of the journal0305-0009
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