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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: The prosodic (re)organization of children's early English articles
Author: Katherine Demuth
Institution: Macquarie University
Author: Elizabeth McCullough
Institution: Brown University
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Semantics; Syntax
Abstract: Researchers have long been puzzled by children's variable omission of grammatical morphemes, often attributing this to a lack of semantic or syntactic competence. Recent studies suggest that some of this variability may be due to phonological constraints. This paper explored this issue further by conducting a longitudinal study of five English-speaking one- to two-year-olds' acquisition of articles. It found that most children were more likely to produce articles when these could be produced as part of a disyllabic foot. However, acoustic analysis revealed that one child initially produced all articles as independent prosodic words. These findings confirm that some of the variable production of articles is conditioned by constraints on children's early phonologies, providing further support for the Prosodic Licensing Hypothesis. They also hold important implications for our understanding of the emergence of syntactic knowledge.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 1.

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