Invariant Order of Acquisition

As children progress beyond the two-word stage, they gradually begin to fill in the inflectional morphology and function words that are omitted in their early language. The process of acquiring the major grammatical morphemes in English is gradual and lengthy and some are still not fully controlled until the child enters school. Studies have found that the order in which English morphemes are acquired (e.g., articles, past tense, prepositions, or auxiliary verbs) is strikingly similar across children. The order of acquisition is not accounted for by frequency of use by the child or mother; instead, it is related to measures of both semantic and syntactic linguistic complexity.



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