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Paradigm uniformity bias in the learning of Korean verbal inflections

  • Youngah Do (a1)

This study explores the role of paradigm uniformity bias in the acquisition of Korean verbal inflections. Paradigm uniformity bias has been proposed in a constraint-based phonological framework, but has rarely been supported by experimental data. This paper provides experimental evidence for paradigm uniformity bias from four- to seven-year-old Korean children learning their native language phonology. Experiment 1 demonstrates that children alter morphological structures in order to produce non-alternating verb forms. Experiment 2 shows that the tendency to adjust morphological structures is rooted in children's preference for uniform paradigms, not in their ignorance of alternations. The results suggest that paradigm uniformity bias plays a role in determining children's preferred production patterns, which favour non-alternating forms even after they have acquired adult-like knowledge of the patterns of alternations.

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For helpful comments and discussion, I would like to thank Adam Albright, Michael Kenstowicz, Donca Steriade, three anonymous reviewers, the associate editor, members of the MIT phonology circle and audiences at the 87th annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America.

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