Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 February 2009
A boy's acquisition of Pig Latin was monitored throughout the year preceding first grade. Abilities underlying this game include the identification of words, deletion of the first syllabic onset (i.e. prevocalic consonants) of each word, blending of this onset and the suffix [e1] onto the word's end, and short-term memory for speech units. Performance improved over time as the underlying abilities developed. Meanwhile, various informative errors were made. Throughout most of the study, onsets that were correctly removed from a word's beginning were often added to its end incorrectly; unstressed function words were repeated intact and not transformed; and the first syllabic onset was overlooked when the syllable was unstressed. Because speech games like this one depend upon basic language skills, they can clarify aspects of ordinary language development.
This research was supported by NIH Grant 1–R23–HD21338–02 awarded to the author. I thank Zachary Ispa-Landa and Boris Landa for providing important information, and I thank Rebecca Treiman and Jean Ispa for helpful comments.
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