Prosodically-conditioned variability in children's production of French determiners

Katherine Demuth*, Annie Tremblay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Researchers have long noted that children's grammatical morphemes are variably produced, raising questions about when and how grammatical competence is acquired. This study examined the spontaneous production of determiners by two French-speaking children aged 1;52;5. It found that determiners were produced earlier with monosyllabic words, and later with disyllabic and trisyllabic words. This suggests that French-speaking children's early determiners are prosodically licensed as part of a binary foot, with determiners appearing more consistently only once prosodic representations become more complex. This study therefore provides support for the notion that grammatical morphemes first appear in prosodically licensed contexts, suggesting that some of the early variability in morphological production is systematic and predictable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-127
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

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