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Phonological and morphological analysis skills in young children*

  • Karen M. Smith-Lock (a1) and Hyla Rubin (a1)


Twenty-two normally developing five-year-olds were asked to judge, identify, repair and explain phonological and morphological errors. All of the errors involved the addition, substitution or omission of a single phoneme, which in the morphological task, was also an inflectional morpheme. Stimuli were controlled for type of error (omission, addition, substitution), location of the error (word final) and word status of the resulting error (word, non-word). Children performed significantly better on the phonological task than on the morphological task. It is proposed that the results are due to differences in the type and location of linguistic information to be analysed and to differences in memory demands in the tasks.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Haskins Laboratories, 270 Crown Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511–6695, USA.


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This study was submitted in partial fulfilment of the first author's Master of Health Science degree. We would like to thank the Metropolitan Separate School Board, Toronto, Ontario, particularly Connie Rankin and Hariette de Boer, for allowing us to collect data in their classrooms. We would also like to thank Ignatius G. Mattingly and Diane Lillo-Martin for thought-provoking discussion and comments on a draft of this article. The article has benefited greatly from the careful comments of two anonymous reviewers. This work was supported in part by Grant A2008 to Hyla Rubin from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and by Grant HD-O1994 to Haskins Laboratories from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.



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Phonological and morphological analysis skills in young children*

  • Karen M. Smith-Lock (a1) and Hyla Rubin (a1)


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