Children's Development of Irregular Past Tense Verb Forms In Brown’s (1973)  classic studies of language development, he found that irregular past tense verbs developed rather early in the developmental sequence. Several other researchers have also noted this early development of irregular verb forms. However, other researchers and clinicians have suggested that irregular verbs continue developing much later into ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 1991
Children's Development of Irregular Past Tense Verb Forms
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kenneth G. Shipley
    Department of Communicative Disorders; California State University, Fresno; Fresno, CA 93740-0080
  • Mary A. Maddox
    Speech-Language Pathologist, County Superintendent of Schools, Fresno, CA
  • Joyce E. Driver
    Speech-Language Pathologist, City School District, Bakersfield, CA
  • Requests for reprints may be forwarded to Kenneth G. Shipley, Ph.D., Department of Communicative Disorders; California State University, Fresno; Fresno, CA 93740-0080.
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Healthcare Settings / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 1991
Children's Development of Irregular Past Tense Verb Forms
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1991, Vol. 22, 115-122. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2203.115
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1991, Vol. 22, 115-122. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2203.115

In Brown’s (1973)  classic studies of language development, he found that irregular past tense verbs developed rather early in the developmental sequence. Several other researchers have also noted this early development of irregular verb forms. However, other researchers and clinicians have suggested that irregular verbs continue developing much later into the school-age years. The purpose of this study was to gain a preliminary view of children’s development of 49 irregular verbs. One hundred and twenty children between 3:0 and 9:0 were examined as they responded to a picture of the target verb with a sentence-completion task. It was found that some irregular verbs (e.g., hit) were correctly produced by the three year olds, but other irregulars (e.g., bent) were still not mastered by age 9. A preliminary order of development of the irregular verbs and possible clinical implications are offered.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Our sincere appreciation is extended to Bill Ward, Joan Lawless, and Sheri Doris for their help in obtaining the approvals needed for this study, and for their assistance in helping secure the children who participated. We are also grateful to the faculty, staff, parents, and children at Little Friends Preschool and Fort Washington Elementary School for their participation and cooperation within the study.
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