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The development of regular and irregular verb inflection in Spanish child language

Clahsen, H., Aveledo, F. and Roca, I. (2002) The development of regular and irregular verb inflection in Spanish child language. Journal of Child Language, 29 (3). pp. 591-622. ISSN 0305-0009

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0305000902005172


We present morphological analyses of verb inflections produced by 15 Spanish-speaking children (age range: 1;7 to 4;7) taken from longitudinal and cross-sectional samples of spontaneous speech and narratives. Our main observation is the existence of a dissociation between regular and irregular processes in the distribution of errors: regular suffixes and unmarked (non-alternating) stems are over-extended to irregulars in children’s inflection errors, but not vice versa. We also found that overregularization errors at all ages are only a small minority of the children’s irregular verbs, that the period of overregularization is preceded by a stage without errors, and that the onset of overregularizations is connected to the emergence of obligatory finiteness markings. These findings are explained in terms of the dual-mechanism model of inflection.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:82477
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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