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ERIC Number: EJ1015656
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Aug
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1092-4388
Acoustic Investigations into the Later Acquisition of Syllabic "-es" Plurals
Mealings, Kiri T.; Cox. Felicity; Demuth, Katherine
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v56 n4 p1260-1271 Aug 2013
Purpose: Children acquire /-ez/ syllabic plurals (e.g., buses) later than /-s, -z/ segmental plurals (e.g., cats,dogs). In this study, the authors explored whether increased syllable number or segmental factors best explains poorer performance with syllabic plurals. Method: An elicited imitation experiment was conducted with 14 two-year-olds involving 8 familiar disyllabic target plural nouns, half with syllabic plurals (e.g., bus [right arrow] buses) and half with segmental plurals (e.g., letter [right arrow] letters). Children saw pictures of the target items on a computer and repeated prerecorded 3-word-utterances with the target word in utterance-medial position (e.g., "The buses come") and utterance-final position (e.g., "Hear the buses"). Acoustic analysis determined the presence or absence of the plural morpheme and its duration. Results: Children had more trouble producing syllabic plurals compared with segmental plurals. Errors were especially evident in the utterance-medial position, where there was less time for the child to perceive/produce the word in the absence of phrase-final lengthening and where planning for the following word was still required. Conclusions: The results suggested that articulatory difficulties--rather than a word length effect--explain later acquisition of syllabic plurals relative to segmental plurals. These findings have implications for the nature of syllabic plural acquisition in children with hearing impairments and specific language impairment. (Contains 3 tables and 5 figures.)
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Tel: 800-638-8255; Fax: 301-571-0457; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A