The role of phonological context in children’s overt marking of ‘-s’ in two dialects of American English

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1. Foreword and tabula gratulatoria 2. Introduction (by Chin, Steven B.) 3. Section 1. Representations and contrast: What does the learner know? 4. Prosodic Licensing and the development of phonological and morphological representations (by Demuth, Katherine) 5. Covert contrast in the acquisition of second language phonology (by Eckman, Fred) 6. Section 2. Sources of individual differences in phonological acquisition 7. Sibling rivalry: Comparing phonological similarity between twin and non-twin siblings (by Ingram, David) 8. Abstracting phonological generalizations: Evidence from children with disorders (by Gierut, Judith A.) 9. Rapid phonological coding and working memory dynamics in children with cochlear implants: Cognitive foundations of spoken language processing (by Pisoni, David B.) 10. Section 3. Cross-linguistic approaches to phonological acquisition 11. What guides children's acquisition of #sC clusters?: A cross-linguistic account (by Yavas, Mehmet) 12. The role of phonological context in children's overt marking of '-s' in two dialects of American English (by Barlow, Jessica A.) 13. German settlement varieties in Kansas: Some unusual phonological and morphological developments with the approach of language death (by Keel, William D.) 14. Section 4. Theoretical advances in the field: Constraint-based approaches 15. The role of onsets in primary and secondary stress patterns (by McGarrity, Laura W.) 16. A faithfulness conspiracy: The selection of unfaithful mappings in Amahl's grammar (by Farris-Trimble, Ashley W.) 17. Superadditivity and limitations on syllable complexity in Bambara words (by Green, Christopher R.) 18. Author index 19. Subject index

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... To date, multiple factors related to the context in which the morpheme occurs have been shown to influence emerging PT and 3s marking rates. These include nonlinguistic influences, such as task type (Barlow, Pruitt-Lord, & Combiths, 2015;Oetting et al., 2012); supralexical linguistic influences, such as utterance position (Barlow & Pruitt-Lord, 2014;Dalal & Loeb, 2005;Song, Sundara, & Demuth, 2009;Sundara, Demuth, & Kuhl, 2011); and lexical influences, such as the frequency with which verbs are inflected for tense marking (Blom & Paradis, 2013;Blom, Paradis, & Duncan, 2012;Marchman, 1997;Marchman, Wulfeck, & Weismer, 1999;Oetting & Horohov, 1997). ...
... There is precedent for the influence of phonology-particularly of the preceding segment in the verb stem-on morpheme marking in acquisition and dialect patterns. Phonological context has been shown to affect regular PT and 3s marking rates across studies of groups both with and without impairment, spanning linguistic populations and task types (e.g., Barlow & Pruitt-Lord, 2014;Johnson & Morris, 2007). However, indices used to measure phonological-context effects have been inconsistent, and findings even appear contradictory in some cases. ...
... In a more direct examination of preceding phonological context in mainstream monolingual English-speaking children, Song et al. (2009) identified higher 3s marking rates in preceding-vowel contexts. On the converse, Barlow and Pruitt-Lord (2014) examined a cross-section from the same corpus used in the longitudinal study of Song et al. and found 3s marking rates to be lower in preceding-vowel contexts. These later findings are unexpected, not only because they differ from a study sampling the same population, but also because they appear contrary to patterns that are expected on the basis of word-final phonological complexity. ...
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Purpose: The emergence of tense-morpheme marking during language acquisition is highly variable, which confounds the use of tense marking as a diagnostic indicator of language impairment in linguistically diverse populations. In this study, we seek to better understand tense-marking patterns in young bilingual children by comparing phonological influences on marking of 2 word-final tense morphemes. Method: In spontaneous connected speech samples from 10 Spanish-English dual language learners aged 56-66 months (M = 61.7, SD = 3.4), we examined marking rates of past tense -ed and third person singular -s morphemes in different environments, using multiple measures of phonological context. Results: Both morphemes were found to exhibit notably contrastive marking patterns in some contexts. Each was most sensitive to a different combination of phonological influences in the verb stem and the following word. Conclusions: These findings extend existing evidence from monolingual speakers for the influence of word-final phonological context on morpheme production to a bilingual population. Further, novel findings not yet attested in previous research support an expanded consideration of phonological context in clinical decision making and future research related to word-final morphology.
English has a word-minimality requirement that all open-class lexical items must contain at least two moras of structure, forming a bimoraic foot (Hayes, 1995).Thus, a word with either a long vowel, or a short vowel and a coda consonant, satisfies this requirement. This raises the question of when and how young children might learn this language-specific constraint, and if they would use coda consonants earlier and more reliably after short vowels compared to long vowels. To evaluate this possibility we conducted an elicited imitation experiment with 15 two-year-old Australian English-speaking children, using both perceptual and acoustic analysis. As predicted, the children produced codas more often when preceded by short vowels. The findings suggest that English-speaking two-year-olds are sensitive to language-specific lexical constraints, and are more likely to use coda consonants when prosodically required.
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