An Experimental Study on the Acquisition of German and Danish Noun Plurals Focusing on Stem Change
This study examines the impact of sound structure on children’s acquisition of noun plural morphology, focussing on stem change. For this purpose, a threelevel classification of stem change properties according to sound structure is presented, with increasing opacity of the plural stem: no change, weak change, strong change. General hypotheses are presented as well as predictions following from them, both general and language-specific. The relevance of stem change is tested in 140 German-speaking and 140 Danish-speaking children from the age of three to nine years, by using a plural elicitation task. Results show that in both languages, stem change has an impact on children’s correct production of plural stems. Language-specific differences between German and Danish both in correct responses and in overgeneralization errors are compared to our predictions and discussed in detail.
Acta Linguistica Hafniensia, 2011, Vol 43, Issue 2, p. 106-126