Formation of the plural in English : a study of native speakers of English and native speakers of Spanish
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The purpose of this investigation was to study one restricted area of language acquisition--the formation of English plurals. Emphasis was placed on carefully controlled sampling, data collection and analysis procedures in an attempt to provide a methodological model which might prove useful to other investigators in their research. This was a descriptive study, and accordingly, all data are reported, amenability to theoretical integration at no point having determined the highlighting or exclusion of any of the information. Whatever interpretations or allusions to theory may be found in the text, while judged relevant enough for inclusion, are incidental to the main purpose of this research, and should be so viewed. The principal aim of this study was the collection of "hard data" and the provision of unequivocal descriptions of those data. That is, the importance of these data lies not in their relevance to any notions particular to this endeavor, but, rather, precisely in their totally empirical foundation. Two linguistic samples were used--native speakers of English and native speakers of Spanish in San Antonio, Texas. An attempt was made to approximate the longitudinal process of acquisition of plurals through apparent time by having as Subjects pupils in the first, second, third and tenth grades. Chapter I presents a critical examination of the literature dealing with first language acquisition deemed most relevant, as well as a similar discussion of material concerned with second language acquisition. This review provides not only the background for this study, but also much of the rationale for the research design which is outlined in Chapter 11. The two final chapters are dedicated to the presentation and discussion of the findings of this investigation.