Morphophonological categories of noun plurals in Hebrew: A developmental study

Dorit Ravid, Rachel Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study analyzes command of noun plurals and phonological awareness of Hebrew-speaking children at the beginning and end of the first year of formal schooling. Our aims were to trace the development of noun plurals during a crucial year in children's life, when they are exposed to a considerable amount of spoken and written language; to determine the impact of different morphophonological plural categories on pace of acquisition; and to determine the relationship between morphological awareness (as measured in the Plural Task) and phonological awareness. Research population consisted of 110 Hebrew-speaking first graders aged 6-7, who were tested twice on pluralization and phonological awareness at the beginning and the end of the school year. Results show that learning of noun plurals is still under way in first grade, side by side with clear improvement in phonological skills. Plural acquisition is paced by morphophonological category: Nouns with nonchanging stems and regular suffixes are already at ceiling at age 6 and are not correlated with phonological skills; but nouns with nonchanging stems and irregular suffixes and both categories of changing stems improve significantly, and are correlated with phonology. These results are discussed in terms of different models of morphological processing and acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-63
Number of pages19
JournalLinguistics
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

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