English derivational suffix frequency and children's stress judgments


Considering the importance of word and stem frequency in the adult lexical processing literature, and the effect of input frequency on children's acquisition of words (Tardif, Shatz, & Naigles, 1997), it was hypothesized that children's acquisition of English morphologically conditioned stress alternations would be affected by the frequency with which children were exposed to different stress-changing suffixes (e.g., -tion, -ity, and -ic). Study 1 determined the proportional representation of suffixes in a children's literature corpus, thereby allowing the suffix variable to be established. Study 2 empirically examined the effect of suffix frequency on school-aged children's judgments of primary stress placement. Findings suggest that age and suffix frequency both play a role in children's awareness of stress placement. © 2001 Elsevier Science (USA).

Publication Title

Brain and Language