Knowing more than one can say: the early regular plural.


This paper reports on partial knowledge in two-year-old children's learning of the regular English plural. In Experiments 1 and 2, children were presented with one kind and its label and then were either presented with two of that same kind (A-->AA) or the initial picture next to a very different thing (A-->AB). The children in A-->AA rarely produced the plural. The children in A-->AB supplied the singular form of A but children in A-->AA did not. Experiment 3 compared the performance of English-speaking and Japanese-speaking children in A-->AA with common and novel nouns. The Japanese-speaking children (learning a language without a mandatory plural) supplied the singular form of A but the English-speaking children did not. The findings indicate young children learning English know there is a plural to be learned before they have fully worked out the rules of production or acquired the necessary singular-plural pairs for broad generalization.

DOI: 10.1017/S0305000909009374

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@article{Zapf2009KnowingMT, title={Knowing more than one can say: the early regular plural.}, author={Jennifer A. Zapf and Linda B. Smith}, journal={Journal of child language}, year={2009}, volume={36 5}, pages={1145-55} }