Previous research on 4-6-year olds’ interpretations of adjunct control has observed non-adultlike behavior for sentences like John called Mary before running to the store. Several studies have aimed to identify a grammatical source of children’s errors. This study tests the predictions of grammatical and extragrammatical accounts by comparing children’s behavior on two truth value judgment tasks: a high demand task, with a true/false judgment based on event ordering; and a low demand task, with a true/false judgment based on the color of an item. Children’s behavior is more adultlike on the low demand task, suggesting that children’s interpretations may be influenced by extragrammatical factors. Implications are discussed for children’s behavior in previous studies and for the role of the linguistic input.
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