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Academic Paper

Title: The longitudinal development of clusters in French
Author: Katherine Demuth
Institution: Macquarie University
Author: Elizabeth McCullough
Institution: Brown University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology
Subject Language: German
Abstract: Studies of English and German find that children tend to acquire word-final consonant clusters before word-initial consonant clusters. This order of acquisition is generally attributed to articulatory, frequency and/or morphological factors. This contrasts with recent experimental findings from French, where two-year-olds were better at producing word-initial than word-final clusters (Demuth & Kehoe, ). The purpose of the present study was to examine French-speaking children's longitudinal acquisition of clusters to determine if these results replicate developmentally. Analysis of spontaneous speech productions from two French-speaking children between one and three years confirmed the earlier acquisition of initial clusters, even when sonority factors were controlled. The findings suggest that French-speaking children acquire complexity at the beginnings of words before complexity appears word-finally. The role of frequency, morphological, structural and input factors is discussed.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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