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English Pluralization Rules of Six-Year-Old Children

Moshe Anisfeld and G. Richard Tucker
Child Development
Vol. 38, No. 4 (Dec., 1967), pp. 1201-1217
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1127118
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1127118
Page Count: 17
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English Pluralization Rules of Six-Year-Old Children
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Abstract

Productive and receptive control of pluralization rules was investigated by asking 6-year-old children to give nonsense names to cartoon animals. In Production tasks, the child was told the name for a single animal and required to produce the plural form, or vice versa. Children made more errors with syllables requiring the addition or deletion of the /iz/ allomorph than with syllables requiring either /s/ or /z/. The greater difficulty with the /iz/ marker was attributed to its infrequency in the child's language, and to the plural-sounding endings of singular nouns which take this allomorph. In Recognition tasks, however, the child, required to match pictures with names, made fewer errors with /z/ than with either /s/ or /iz/. The frequency and dependability of /z/ as a marker of plurality helped explain its low error rate in Recognition tasks. Other studies indicated that the child has abstracted the general rule that pluralization involves lengthening the singular form, and that he uses numbers as substitutes for the standard allomorphs of plurality.

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