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Dev Psychol. 1997 Jul;33(4):637-49.

Morphological spelling strategies: developmental stages and processes.

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Department of Child Development and Learning, University of London, England.


The spelling of many words in English and in other orthographies involves patterns determined by morphology (e.g., ed in past regular verbs). The authors report a longitudinal study that shows that when children first adopt such spelling patterns, they do so with little regard for their morphological basis. They generalize the patterns to grammatically inappropriate words (e.g., sofed for soft). Later these generalizations are confined to the right grammatical category (e.g., keped for kept) and finally to the right group of words (regular verbs). The authors conclude that children first see these spelling patterns merely as exceptions to the phonetic system and later grasp their grammatical significance. The study included two new measures of grammatical awareness, both involving analogies, that predicted success with spelling inflectional morphemes in later sessions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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