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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
French
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.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 2.

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