Syllable-final /s/ lenition and the acquisition of plural morphology in Spanish-speaking children

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This paper examines the effect of syllable-final /s/ lenition on the production and comprehension of plural marking in Spanish-speaking children. Two varieties of Spanish were examined. The first variety is Chilean Spanish where final /s/ undergoes a process of lenition and is sometimes omitted in the speech of adult speakers. This results in an ambiguous input for plural marking as the plural marker is sometimes produced (as [s] or [h]) and sometimes omitted (zero) in plural noun phrases. The second variety is Mexican Spanish (of Mexico City) where there is no such lenition process and the plural marker is consistently produced as an alveolar fricative. The goal of the experimental studies presented here is to determine how these different types of input (ambiguous input vs. consistent input) affect the language acquisition process.


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