Input driven constraints on plurals in English noun-noun compounds

J. Hayes, V. Murphy, N. Davey, Pamela Smith

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    22 Downloads (Pure)


    Native English speakers include irregular plurals in English noun-noun compounds (e.g. mice chaser) more frequently than regular plurals (e.g. *rats chaser) (Gordon, 1985). This dissociation in inflectional morphology has been argued to stem from an internal and innate morphological constraint as it is thought that the input to which English speaking children are exposed is insufficient to signal that regular plurals are prohibited in compounds but irregulars might be allowed (Marcus, Brinkmann, Clahsen, Wiese & Pinker, 1995). In addition, this dissociation in English compounds has been invoked to support the idea that regular and irregular morphology are mediated by separate cognitive systems (Pinker, 1999). The evidence of the neural network model presented here is used to support an alternative view that the constraint on English compounds can be derived from the general frequencies and patterns in which the two types of plural (regular and irregular) in conjunction with the possessive morpheme occur in the input
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of EuroCogSci 2003
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    Dive into the research topics of 'Input driven constraints on plurals in English noun-noun compounds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this