The Acquisition of the Third Person Singular [-s]: A Case Study of Language-minority Children Attending an Irish Primary School

Niamh Kelly

Abstract


This study investigates the development of the third-person singular (3SG)[-s] morpheme in the spontaneous speech of five language minority children attending an Irish primary school, where the language of instruction is the second language (L2) of the subjects. Evidence from the study is discussed in the context of a number of theories which have been put forward in the literature to account for the development of the 3SG. Results support some of the predictions of the Optional Infinitive Theory, and would argue in favour of the Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis. The parallel use of both finite and non-finite verbs in obligatory finite contexts is explored, and while the sporadic omission of the 3SG morpheme is similar to the sporadic omission of the genitive [-s] morpheme, the use of objective case marking ceasing in verbal projections yet continuing in nominal projections, questions the extent to which a parallel occurs between possessive and 3SG inflections. 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v6n1p1

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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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