The usefulness of phonological information for the acquisition of grammatical structure in child language development

During the process of language development, one of the most important tasks that children must face is that of identifying the grammatical category to which words in their language belong. This is essential in order to be able to form grammatically correct utterances. How do children proceed in order to classify words in their language and assign them to their corresponding grammatical category? The present study investigates the usefulness of phonological information for the categorization of nouns in English, given the fact that it is phonology the first source of information that might be available to prelinguistic infants who lack access to semantic information or complex morphosyntactic information. We analyse four different corpora containing linguistic samples of English speaking mothers addressing their children in order to explore the reliability with which words are represented in mothers’ speech based on several phonological criteria. The results of the analysis confirm the prediction that most of the words to which English learning infants are exposed during the first two years of life can be accounted for in terms of their phonological resemblance ​
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