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Academic Paper

Title: Knowing more than one can say: The early regular plural
Author: Jennifer A. Zapf
Institution: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Author: Linda B. Smith
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: This paper reports on partial knowledge in two-year-old children's learning of the regular English plural. In Experiments 1 and 2, children were presented with one kind and its label and then were either presented with two of that same kind (A→AA) or the initial picture next to a very different thing (A→AB). The children in A→AA rarely produced the plural. The children in A→AB supplied the singular form of A but children in A→AA did not. Experiment 3 compared the performance of English-speaking and Japanese-speaking children in A→AA with common and novel nouns. The Japanese-speaking children (learning a language without a mandatory plural) supplied the singular form of A but the English-speaking children did not. The findings indicate young children learning English know there is a plural to be learned they have fully worked out the rules of production or acquired the necessary singular–plural pairs for broad generalization.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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