270 , 2015-03-31 , 東京大学大学院教育学研究科 , The Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo , 東京大学大学院教育学研究科教育心理学コース
This paper examines some factors determining preschoolers ’ acquisition of Rendaku in compound nouns. Rendaku (sequential voicing) is a morphophonemic process in Japanese that voices the initial obstruent of the second element (henceforth, N2) of a compound. In the adult grammar, Rendaku is subject to two conditions (Ito & Mester 2000, and elsewhere). Sugimoto (2013a) presents empirical evidence that Japanese preschoolers do not follow the adult's Rendaku conditions. Yet the exact mechanism of its acquisition are still unknown. We conducted a cross-sectional study using a compound noun formation task to investigate how consonantal markedness and word structure affect preschoolers’ acquisition of Rendaku. Our results show that the consonantal markedness has no influence on their acquisition of Rendaku, rather that children first become able to handle three-moraic N2s before two-moraic N2s. Some developmental implications are discussed.