Acquisition of German pluralization rules in monolingual and multilingual children

Main Article Content

Eugen Zaretsky
Benjamin P. Lange
Harald A. Euler
Katrin Neumann

Abstract

Existing studies on plural acquisition in German have relied on small samples and thus hardly deliver generalizable and differentiated results. Here, overgeneralizations of certain plural allomorphs and other tendencies in the acquisition of German plural markers are described on the basis of test data from 7,394 3- to 5-yearold monolingual German and bi/multilingual immigrant children tested with a modified, validated version of the Marburger Sprachscreening (MSS) language test and 476 children tested with the SETK 3-5 language test. Classified correct and wrong answers to MSS and SETK 3-5 plural items were compared. The acquisition patterns of immigrants corresponded to those of younger German children. Both monolingual German and immigrant children demonstrated generally the same universal frequency and phonetically/phonologically based error patterns, irrespective of their linguistic background, but with different tendencies such as overgeneralization of -s by German children only.

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Author Biographies

Eugen Zaretsky, Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main

yevgen.zaretsky@kgu.de

Eugen Zaretsky has been a post-doc linguist in the Department of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology, University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany, since 2008. His research interests are language acquisition, language contact, language and fluency disorders, multilingualism, grammar, and genderlects. Contact details: Department of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, Building 7A, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Benjamin P. Lange, University of Göttingen

kontakt@benjaminplange.de

Benjamin P. Lange is a linguist and psychologist, post-doc, Institute of Medical Psychology and MedicalSociology, Center of  Psychosocial Medicine,University of Göttingen, Germany. His research interests are, among others, language evolution, language acquisition, and language-related sex differences. Contact details: Institute of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, Center of Psychosocial Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Göttingen, Waldweg 37, 37073 Göttingen, Germany

Harald A. Euler, Ruhr University, Bochum

euler@uni-kassel.de

Harald Euler has been a visiting professor at the Department of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology, University of Bochum, Germany, since 2012, and at the Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria, since 2013. His research interests are fluency disorders, assessment of language development, and evolutionary psychology. Contact details: Department of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bleichstr. 15, 44787 Bochum, Germany

Katrin Neumann, Ruhr University, Bochum

katrin.neumann@kgu.de

Katrin Neumann has been Head of the Department of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology, University of Bochum, Germany, since 2012. Her research interestsare fluency, voice, and hearing disorders; and language and hearing assessment. Contact details: Department of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bleichstr. 15, 44787 Bochum, Germany

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