More overregularizations after all: New data and discussion on Marcus, Pinker, Ullman, Hollander, Rosen & Xu

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Abstract

Marcus, Pinker, Ullman, Hollander, Rosen & Xu (1992) claim that when the irregular past form of a verb is known, it is immediately known to be the correct form, such that overregularizations only occur as speech errors, not as a genuine grammatical alternative; as a result, they argue, overregularization rates are, when carefully inspected, very low. In the present paper: (1) it is shown that even if overregularizations are a genuine grammatical alternative, overall rates in samples would still be low for most children; (2) careful analysis shows evidence for substantial overregularization periods in three longitudinal subjects ages 2;5-5;2 (Abe), 2;3-5;2 (Adam) and 2;3-5;0 (Sarah); (3) Abe's much higher rates follow from general developments in his past tense acquisition, in ways not consonant with Marcus et al.'s formulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-212
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of child language
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000

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