Learning the Plural from Variable Input
An Eye-tracking Study of Chilean Children’s Plural Comprehension
Keywords:first language acquisition; developmental sociolinguistics; variable input; Spanish; plural morphology
Natural languages frequently display both consistent and variable morphological patterns. Previous studies have indicated that variable morphological patterns are mastered more slowly than consistent ones. In particular, it has been argued that Chilean children, who are exposed to variable plural-marking, take longer to consistently associate the plural marker to a more-than-one interpretation than children who are exposed to non-variable plural-marking (e.g. children from Mexico City). Building on this previous work, the present study assesses Chilean children’s ability to associate the plural marker to a more-than-one interpretation in both an act-out task and an eye-tracking task, in order to compare performance across different contexts and between offline and real-time comprehension, and to enrich our understanding of the acquisition of variable morphology.
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