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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: Putting singular and plural morphology in context*
Author: Marco Dispaldro
Institution: Università degli Studi di Padova
Author: Beatrice Benelli
Institution: Università degli Studi di Padova
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology
Abstract: This study explores the development of children's knowledge of linguistic and pragmatic aspects of singular and plural in Italian, for definite articles (Experiment 1) and verbs (Experiment 2). Participants aged three to adult were asked to pick objects from two dishes, each with a different number of items on them (one vs. two), following the morphological information. Results show that children understand that singular forms refer to ‘one’ at about age four, whereas they understand that plural forms refer to ‘more than one’ when they are older than six. Moreover, children use singular and plural knowledge in appropriate relation with the referential context only when they are about six.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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