This article provides experimental evidence for the claim in Hayes (2004) and McCarthy (1998) that language learners are biased to assume that morphological paradigms should be phonologically-uniform. The evidence comes from an artificial language word-learning paradigm, in which children learned novel objects names such as wutch and a plural suffix -del in an alien language and then were asked to produce alien words with difficult coda-onset clusters, some of which straddled the singular +del suffix boundary. The results suggest that 4-year-olds who are acquiring novel consonant clusters are preferentially faithful to the base segments in a derived word.
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I study phonology, language acquisition, constraint-based grammars, and other things. Photo credit: J. Craft.