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Title: The acquisition of English onsets: the case of Amahl
Authors: Hanson, Rebecca
Keywords: Linguistics;Language acquisition;Phonology;Phonetics;Distinctive features (Linguistics);Constraints (Linguistics)
Issue Date: Sep-2002
Publisher: University of Calgary
Citation: Hanson, R. (2002). The acquisition of English onsets: the case of Amahl. Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics, 24(Fall), 33-75.
Abstract: The acquisition of English onsets by one English-learning child is examined in close detail, with particular focus on the acquisition of /s/ and /s/-clusters. The observation that target /s/ in harmony environments is sensitive to the feature [labial] as opposed to [coronal] and [dorsal] provides support for a feature geometry model in which [labial] versus [lingual] is a possible distinction, e.g. Brown (1997). Further, the unique behavior of target /s/ in the developing phonology motivates the proposal that physiological factors, such as articulatory difficulty, can have consequences in the grammatical system. In particular, it is proposed that a constraint against lingual continuants, which require a precise physical coordination that may not have yet developed, can account for the patterns in the child's acquisition of /s/ clusters. A comparison with the acquisition of /f/, a non-lingual continuant, and that of /l/, another lingual continuant, provides further support for this proposal. The conclusions reached here are consistent with notion of a phonological system grounded in independent, functional principles as argued for in, for example, Goad (1997).
ISSN: 2371-2643
Appears in Collections:Volume 24, Fall 2002

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