Phonological Constraints on Children's Production of English Third Person Singular --s

Jae Yung Song; Sundara, Megha; Demuth, Katherine
June 2009
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2009, Vol. 52 Issue 3, p623
Academic Journal
Purpose: Children variably produce grammatical morphemes at early stages of development, often omitting inflectional morphemes in obligatory contexts. This has typically been attributed to immature syntactic or semantic representations. In this study, the authors investigated the hypothesis that children's variable production of the 3rd person singular morpheme --s interacts with the phonological complexity of the verb stem to which it is attached. Method: To explore this possibility, the authors examined longitudinal data from the spontaneous speech of 6 English-speaking children between ages 1;3 and 3;6 (years; months) and elicited imitations from a cross-sectional study of 23 two-year-olds (mean age of 2;2). Results: The results showed that children produced third person singular morphemes more accurately in phonologically simple coda contexts (e.g., sees) as compared with complex coda contexts (e.g., needs). In addition, children produced --s more accurately in utterance-final position as compared with utterance-medial position. Conclusions: The results provide strong support for the role of phonological complexity in explaining some of the variability in children's production of third person singular --s. This finding suggests that future research will need to consider multiple factors, including phonological and positional effects, in constructing a comprehensive developmental theory of both grammatical competence and processes of speech planning and production.


Related Articles

  • Constructions and their acquisition: Islands and the distinctiveness of their occupancy. Ellis, Nick C.; Ferreira-Junior, Fernando // Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics;2009, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p188 

    This paper presents a psycholinguistic analysis of constructions and their acquisition. It investigates effects upon naturalistic second language acquisition of type/token distributions in the islands comprising the linguistic form of English verb-argument constructions (VACs: VL verb locative,...

  • Role of Linguistic Input in Third Person Singular -s Use in the Speech of Young Children. Finneran, Denise A.; Leonard, Laurence B. // Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2010, Vol. 53 Issue 4, p1065 

    Purpose: To examine the role of linguistic input in how young, typically developing children use the 3rd person singular -s (3S) inflection. Method: Novel verbs were presented to 16 young children in either 3S contexts (e.g., "The tiger heens") or nonfinite (NF) contexts (e.g., "Will the tiger...

  • ENGLISH VERB PARTICLES AND THEIR ACQUISITION. A COGNITIVE APPROACH. Neagu, Mariana // Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada (RESLA (Revista Espa;2007, Vol. 20, p121 

    This paper revisits the issue of English phrasal verbs from the perspective of particles and the meaning they contribute to the composite meaning as a whole. The question it addresses is whether particles are purely idiomatic (i.e. arbitrarily or chaotically used) or whether they rather consist...

  • Second Language Acquisition of Progressive Aspect of Stative and Achievement Verbs in English. Falhasiri, Mohammad; Youhanaee, Manijeh; Barati, Hossein // Journal of Language Teaching & Research;Sep2012, Vol. 3 Issue 5, p992 

    No abstract available.

  • Comparing Different Models of the Development of Verb Inflection in Early Child Spanish. Aguado-Orea, Javier; Pine, Julian M. // PLoS ONE;Mar2015, Vol. 10 Issue 3, p1 

    How children acquire knowledge of verb inflection is a long-standing question in language acquisition research. In the present study, we test the predictions of some current constructivist and generativist accounts of the development of verb inflection by focusing on data from two...

  • Verb movement in the L2 acquisition of English by adult native speakers of French. Ayoun, Dalila // EUROSLA Yearbook;2005, Vol. 5, p35 

    This study investigates the acquisition of English verb movement phenomena by two groups of adult French native speakers: a group of secondary school students and a group of university students. A group of English native speakers served as controls. Participants were administered a written...

  • Non-Creole Features in the Verb System of Afro-Hispanic Languages: New Insights from SLA Studies. Sessarego, Sandro // International Journal of Linguistics (IJL);2012, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p146 

    The goal of this paper is to show how two commonly found linguistic features in Afro-Hispanic contact varieties can be explained as the result of advanced second language strategies and, for this reason, they do not necessary imply a previous creole stage for these languages. The features under...

  • The Linguistic Adjustments of the ACT-R Model to the Acquisition of the Simple Past Tense in the Arab Learners of English Context. Mourssi, Anwar // Arab World English Journal;Jun2013, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p298 

    The Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational ACT-R model (Taatgen and Anderson, 2002) is one of the most recent computational models of the acquisition of simple past morphology. This empirical study focuses on the ACT-R model which is proposed in order to explain and predict language acquisition...

  • Dissociating syntax from morphology in a divergent L2 end-state grammar. Donna // Second Language Research;Sep98, Vol. 14 Issue 4, p359 

    This article addresses current proposals in the literature suggesting that thematic verb-raising is optional in the grammars of L2 acquirers, due either to failure to acquire verbal agreement morphology or to an impairment of the mechanism relating the ‘richness’ of morphological...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics