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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: Mastering inflectional suffixes: a longitudinal study of beginning writers' spellings*
Author: Kathryn Turnbull
Institution: University of Western Ontario
Author: D Hélène Deacon
Institution: Dalhousie University
Author: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
Institution: Dalhousie University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This study tracked the order in which ten beginning spellers (M age=5 ; 05; SD=0·21 years) mastered the correct spellings of common inflectional suffixes in English. Spellings from children's journals from kindergarten and grade 1 were coded. An inflectional suffix was judged to be mastered when children spelled it accurately in 90 percent of the contexts in which it was grammatically required, a criterion used to study the order of acquisition of grammatical morphemes in oral language. The results indicated that the order in which children learned to spell inflectional suffixes correctly is similar to the order in which they learn to use them in oral language, before school age. Discrepancies between the order of mastery for inflectional suffixes in written and oral language are discussed in terms of English spelling conventions, which introduce variables into the spelling of inflected words that are not present in oral language.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 38, Issue 3.

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