Input effects in the acquisition of verb inflection: Evidence from Emirati Arabic

Marta Szreder, Laura E. De Ruiter, Dimitrios Ntelitheos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study investigates the acquisition of the Imperfective verb inflection paradigm in Emirati Arabic (EA), to determine whether the learning process is sensitive to the phonological and typological properties of the input. We collected data from 48 participants aged 2;7 to 5;9 years, using an elicited production paradigm. Input frequencies of inflectional contexts, verb types and tokens were obtained from corpora of child-directed and adult EA. Children's accuracy was inversely related to the input frequency of inflectional contexts, but not related to type and token frequency or phonological neighborhood density. Token frequency interacted with age, such that younger children performed considerably worse on low-frequency tokens, but older children performed equally well on high- and low-frequency tokens. We conclude that learning is input-driven, but that a sufficiently regular paradigm allows children to eventually generalise across all items earlier than in previously studied European languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-713
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 20 2022


  • acquisition of Arabic
  • frequency effects
  • input-driven learning
  • morphological acquisition
  • verb inflection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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