Role of Linguistic Input in Third Person Singular –s Use in the Speech of Young Children PurposeTo examine the role of linguistic input in how young, typically developing children use the 3rd person singular –s (3S) inflection.MethodNovel verbs were presented to 16 young children in either 3S contexts (e.g., “The tiger heens”) or nonfinite (NF) contexts (e.g., “Will the tiger heen?”). The input was further manipulated ... Article
Article  |   August 01, 2010
Role of Linguistic Input in Third Person Singular –s Use in the Speech of Young Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Denise A. Finneran
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, and University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University
  • Contact author: Denise A. Finneran, University of South Carolina, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Williams Brice Building, Room 601-A, 1621 Greene Street, Columbia, SC 29208. E-mail: dfinneran@sc.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   August 01, 2010
Role of Linguistic Input in Third Person Singular –s Use in the Speech of Young Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 1065-1074. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/09-0056)
History: Received March 30, 2009 , Revised July 24, 2009 , Accepted November 9, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 1065-1074. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/09-0056)
History: Received March 30, 2009; Revised July 24, 2009; Accepted November 9, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

PurposeTo examine the role of linguistic input in how young, typically developing children use the 3rd person singular –s (3S) inflection.

MethodNovel verbs were presented to 16 young children in either 3S contexts (e.g., “The tiger heens”) or nonfinite (NF) contexts (e.g., “Will the tiger heen?”). The input was further manipulated for length such that half of the presentations in each context had adjectives modifying the subject. Children were then prompted to use the novel verbs in contexts requiring 3S and in contexts requiring an infinitive form. The children’s use of 3S with familiar verbs was also examined.

ResultsNovel verbs heard only in 3S contexts were more likely to be produced with 3S in obligatory contexts and were more likely to be inappropriately applied to infinitive contexts than novel verbs heard only in NF contexts. Degree of 3S use in obligatory contexts was lower for familiar verbs than for novel verbs heard only in 3S contexts but higher than for novel verbs heard only in NF contexts. Length was not a significant factor.

ConclusionLinguistic input appears to have a strong effect on how young children use the 3S inflection in newly encountered verbs.

Acknowledgments
This research was conducted while the first author was a doctoral student at Purdue University. This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC00458 as well as by the Weinberg Fund from the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue University. We thank Patricia Deevy and the research team of the Child Language Development Laboratory at Purdue University. We also acknowledge the children, their families, and local area nursery schools and day care centers that participated in this study.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access