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The Semantics of Verbs and the Development of Verb Inflections in Child Language

Bloom, Lois; Lifter, Karin; Hafitz, Jeremie

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the semantic organization of verbs used in early sentences and the emergence of the inflections of the verb auxiliary (-ing, -s, -ed, irreg). In discussions of the acquisition of grammatical morphemes by Brown (1973), de Villiers & de Villiers (1973), and others, only the syntax and semantics (along with environmental frequency) of the individual morphemes themselves have been seriously discussed as contributing to the order in which they are acquired. However, the results of the present study suggest that the semantic organization of the verb system that children learn is at least as important as the meanings of the verb inflections for determining their acquisition.


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Language development from two to three
Cambridge University Press

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Academic Units
Human Development
Published Here
October 5, 2016