Early Acquisition of Nominal Plural in Spanish

Conxita Lleó

Abstract

This paper examines the development of nominal plural formation in Spanish by three monolingual and two Spanish-German bilingual children, from the beginning of word production until at about 2;4 -3;0, depending on data availability. Some children begin to express plurality by means of a final -e (belonging to the Spanish allomorph -es), whereas other children, one of the monolinguals and the two bilinguals, produce plural final -s from the beginning. These results are correlated to the child-specific accessibility of final codas in lexical items. On the one hand, such a correlation leads to the postulation of a relative dependency of morphology on phonology: only accessible phonological material can provide morphology with the means to express its categories. However, even if the phonological means have not yet been acquired, the child can still express morphological categories, which are then incomplete, and often ignored in analyses that do not take phonology into consideration.

Keywords

morphological acquisition, phonological acquisition, prosodic structure, plural, allo- morphs, coda consonants, monolingual and bilingual acquisition

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