By Annemarie Kerkhoff

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Extra info for Acquisition of Morpho-Phonology: The Dutch voicing alternation

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Another example is reported in Kazazis (1969) who provides data from Marina, a four-year-old learning Greek. The sequence *[xe] (velar consonant before front vowel) was produced in [exete] ‘you-pl. have’ (adult [eçete]) on account 44 CHAPTER 2 of [exo] ‘I have’. In these cases, there seems to be a closer match between morphologically related forms in child than in adult phonology (see also Pater (2000). e. e. at the top of the hierarchy) by children acquiring language (McCarthy 1998, Hayes 2004).

As noted in Chapter 1, such erroneous forms are attested for Dutch children. Kager (1999a) uses a ‘constraint demotion’ algorithm or CDA (Tesar & Smolensky 1998; 2000, Tesar 1996), and shows that it is theoretically possible to learn the correct grammar and underlying form, provided that the learner can go back and forth between estimating the underlying forms and estimating the constraint ranking. The learner receives a signal that the UR must be changed rather than the grammar, when she passes through the same grammar twice (see also Tesar & Prince 2004).

For instance, postnasal voicing is a phonological process in Equadorian Quechua, whereas it is phonetically implemented in English (Hayes & Stivers 1996). Both Ferguson (1975:11) and Locke (1983:120) describe postnasal voicing in child language even though the input did not provide evidence for it (but see Ota 1999; 2003). In sum, children are likely to show a preference for both final and intervocalic or postnasal voicing, and such constraints may influence the acquisition of THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES 41 voicing alternations.

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