This paper assesses the extent to which phonological regressions cast doubt on the view of phonological acquisition as a gradual process of grammatical error resolution. Based on existing and novel analyses of longitudinal data, this paper argues that true phonological regressions (“grammatical backtracking”) should not be captured directly within the normal workings of children’s error-driven mechanisms for grammar learning. Part of the argument comes from the claim that grammatical backtracking is restricted to child-specific processes, suggesting an exceptional treatment of these regressions via child-specific constraints that are induced over the course of learning.
This is me.
I study phonology, language acquisition, constraint-based grammars, and other things. Photo credit: J. Craft.