Children’s Acquisition of Plural Making Rules Essay

Children’s Acquisition of Plural Making Rules Essay

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This project aims to examine if children have rules for making plurals. For example, if a child says that the plural of book is books. Does he really know that he has to add the allomorph /-s/ to the singular to make the plural? Or does he memorize the plural form independently from the singular?
The plural allomorphs that children are expected to acquire are /-s/, /-z/, and /-əz/. The child participated in this project is expected to make plurals as adults and add the correct plural allomorph to the end of singular forms. He should be able to add /-s/ after voiceless consonant sounds such as /t/, /p/ and /k/, /-z/ after some voiced consonant sounds like /m/ and /n/ or vowels, and /-əz/ after other consonants such as /s/ and /z/.
In order to test if the child has plural making rules, six imaginative words were made up. These nonsense words were bleem, foo, niss, muzz, brop, and dit. For example, if the child answered that the plural of brop is brops correctly, then it is certain that children generate some rules to make plurals.

This project examines the plural making rules acquisition of a 5-year old child. The child participated in this project is an Emirati. He is bilingual; he speaks both Arabic and English. In this project, the initials H.K will refer to the child.
Materials and Procedure
To examine the plural making rules of H.K, six nonsense words were used. These words were assigned to imaginary animals pictures. The nonsense words used in this project were bleem, foo, niss, muzz, brop, and dit. He was expected to pronounce bleems as /bli:mz/, foos as /fu:z/, nisses as /nɪsəz/, muzzes as /m⋀zəz/, brops as /brops/, and dits as /dɪts/.
To get H.K familiar with the project procedures, two pictures of r...

... middle of paper ...

...such as the allomorph /-əz/. They can generate each one rule of making plurals at a time. Starting small and then progressing to complex units is what helps children to progress steadily in language development.
The process of collecting the data and analyzing it helped me in understanding how children develop their language. Children come up with novel terms all the time, but this is my first time to examine the development of rules such as plural making. I noticed that children’s language is complicated. They can learn rules inductively in such young age. Then, they start to apply these rules in almost all cases. Children’s language is truly remarkable.

Works Cited

BERKO, J. (1958). The child's learning of english morphology. ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing).
Harley, T. (2008). The pshycology of language from data to theory. New York: Psychology press.

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