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Academic Paper

Title: Morphological priming in child German
Author: Harald Clahsen
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Universität Potsdam
Author: Elisabeth Fleischhauer
Institution: Universität Potsdam
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology
Subject Language: German
Abstract: Regular and irregular inflection in children's production has been examined in many previous studies. Yet, little is known about the processes involved in children's recognition of inflected words. To gain insight into how children process inflected words, the current study examines regular -t and irregular -n participles of German using the cross-modal priming technique testing 108 monolingual German-speaking children in two age groups (group I, mean age: 8;4, group II, mean age: 9;9) and a control group of 72 adults. Although both age groups of children had the same full priming effect as adults for -t forms, only children of age group II showed an adult-like (partial) priming effect for -n participles. We argue that children (within the age range tested) employ the same mechanisms for regular inflection as adults but that the lexical retrieval processes required for irregular forms become more efficient when children get older.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 41, Issue 6.

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