Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 115
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Priyadarshi, Brajesh and Mahesh, B. V. M. 2019. Emerging Trends in the Diagnosis and Intervention of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. p. 85.

    Mitrofanova, Natalia 2018. Early Underspecification of Functional Categories: Evidence from the Acquisition of Locative PPs in Russian. Language Acquisition, Vol. 25, Issue. 4, p. 341.

    Demuth, Katherine 2018. The Development of Prosody in First Language Acquisition. Vol. 23, Issue. , p. 207.

    Murray, Elizabeth Thomas, Donna and McKechnie, Jacqueline 2018. Comorbid morphological disorder apparent in some children aged 4-5 years with childhood apraxia of speech: findings from standardised testing. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, p. 1.

    Lidz, Jeffrey and Perkins, Laurel 2018. Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. p. 1.

    Rispoli, Matthew and Hadley, Pamela A. 2018. Let's Be Explicit About the Psycholinguistic Bases of Developmental Measures: A Response to Leonard, Haebig, Deevy, and Brown (2017). Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, Vol. 61, Issue. 6, p. 1455.

    Longa, Víctor M. 2018. That Was Not ‘Lenneberg’s Dream’. Historiographia Linguistica, Vol. 45, Issue. 1-2, p. 179.

    Özçelik, Öner 2018. Towards the use of phonological markedness and extraprosodicity in accounting for morphological errors in Specific Language Impairment. Language, Interaction and Acquisition. Langage, Interaction et Acquisition, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 234.

    Demuth, Katherine 2018. Prosodic constraints on children’s use of grammatical morphemes. First Language, p. 014272371775198.

    Dube, Sithembinkosi Kung, Carmen Brock, Jon and Demuth, Katherine 2017. Perceptual salience and the processing of subject-verb agreement in 9–11-year-old English-speaking children: Evidence from ERPs. Language Acquisition, p. 1.

    Murasugi, Keiko 2017. Perspectives on the Architecture and Acquisition of Syntax. p. 243.

    Ambar, Manuela and Jiménez-Fernández, Ángel L. 2017. The Companion to Syntax. p. 1.

    Haznedar, Belma 2017. Morpho-syntactic properties of simultaneous bilingualism: Evidence from bilingual English-Turkish. International Journal of Bilingualism, p. 136700691770345.

    Modyanova, Nadezhda Perovic, Alexandra and Wexler, Ken 2017. Grammar Is Differentially Impaired in Subgroups of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Evidence from an Investigation of Tense Marking and Morphosyntax. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 8, Issue. ,

    Leonard, Laurence B. 2017. Reciprocal relations between syntax and tense/agreement morphology in children’s interpretation of input: A look at children with specific language impairment. First Language, p. 014272371772909.

    Demuth, Katherine and Tomas, Ekaterina 2016. Understanding the contributions of prosodic phonology to morphological development: Implications for children with Specific Language Impairment. First Language, Vol. 36, Issue. 3, p. 265.

    Thornton, Rosalind Rombough, Kelly Martin, Jasmine and Orton, Linda 2016. Negative sentences in children with specific language impairment. First Language, Vol. 36, Issue. 3, p. 228.

    White, Lydia 2016. Language Acquisition Beyond Parameters. Vol. 51, Issue. , p. 17.

    Haznedar, Belma and Ketrez, F. Nihan 2016. The Acquisition of Turkish in Childhood. Vol. 20, Issue. , p. 1.

    Westergaard, Marit 2016. Finiteness Matters. Vol. 231, Issue. , p. 257.

  • Print publication year: 1994
  • Online publication date: May 2011

14 - Finiteness and head movement in early child grammars


The problem of inflection

It has long been observed in the study of developmental linguistics that at an early age the child often omits verbal inflection or provides the “wrong” inflection (one that is wrong for the adult grammar that is developing). There are two traditional views concerning the explanation of this phenomenon. One view assumes that young children do not know about inflection and that they have to “learn” to “add” inflection. Knowledge of inflection is measured by the proportion of times that the inflection appears in obligatory contexts. This proportion increases over time, indicating greater knowledge. Possibly children learn to add inflection on a verb by verb basis. One variant of the view claims that at a young age even the verbs that a child produces with inflection are not truly inflected verbs. Rather they are unanalyzed “wholes.” On this view, the child does not understand the inflectional processes. Rather, inflection simply becomes stronger, as an associative element of a verb. We can call this the “Growing Strength” (GS) view.

An altogether opposite view is that the child does know the grammar of inflection. What she does not know are the forms of inflection. On this view the child knows not only the UG that underlies inflection, but also knows all the properties of the language that is developing except one set of properties—namely, the particular set of morphological forms that express the inflectional properties.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Verb Movement
  • Online ISBN: 9780511627705
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *