Children have been found to acquire /-əz/ plurals (e.g. noses) later than /s,z/ plurals (e.g. cats, dogs) (Brown, 1973). This study explores why there is delayed acquisition of the syllabic -es plural and whether word length or segmental factors are involved. We conducted an elicited imitation task involving eight target items, half with a disyllabic root (e.g. letter letters), and half with a monosyllabic root (e.g. bus buses). Children saw pictures of the items on a computer and repeated pre-recorded three-word-utterances with the target both utterance-medial and utterance-final. Acoustic analysis was used to determine the presence or absence of the plural morpheme. Preliminary results from two children show that they have more trouble producing the syllabic -es morpheme, especially when the target word is in utterance-medial position. This suggests articulatory difficulties with the two consecutive fricatives especially when there is less time for the child to perceive/produce the word without phrase-final lengthening.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Macquarie Matrix: undergraduate research journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
- speech acoustics
- child language acquisition
- syllabic plurals