Acquisition of morphophonemic alternations and the role of frequency

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Bringing in acquisition data from stems that undergo morphophonemic alternation in Turkish, this study seeks to show how children’s acquisition path, mostly shaped by frequency implicates rules rather than a nondecomposed route. In Turkish most stems ending in the non-velar plosives [p], [t], [tʃ] undergo voicing alternation and stems ending in the velar plosive undergo deletion. On the grounds that the presence of non-velar-ending stems that do not undergo alternation or velar-ending stems that do not exhibit deletion may obscure the extraction of a pattern and give rise to errors in acquisition, we have tested 60 children in three developmental groups. We have found that children in all age groups erred and each sound type exhibited a variant error-path that reveals an interplay between type-frequency and token-frequency.


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