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14 terms

Roger Brown's 14 Grammatical Morphemes

The order in which most children acquire morphemes.
1. Progressive -ing
The present progressive is formed by combining the verb "to be" with the present participle. (The present participle is merely the -ing form of a verb.)

• He is walk-ing; She was talk-ing

• Not to be confused with gerunds or adjectives
2. Plural -s
• Regular plurals: balloon-s; dog-s

• Does not include words that can't
alternate to singular form
3. Preposition IN
• Ball in the cup

• Picture in the book

• Cat in the cookie jar
4. Preposition ON
• Cat on the couch

• Dog on the sofa
5. Possessive -s
• Armand's book; Maggie's washrag

• Doesn't include possessive pronouns:
his, hers, its yours, ours, theirs
6. Regular past -ed
• He smash-ed the grapefruit

• Not to be confused with participles
or participle adjectives
7. Irregular past
• She went home; It broke

• Includes: did, had
BUT NOT: were, was
8. Regular 3rd person singular present tense -s
• She like-s kitties; He shake-s the maracas

• 3rd person singular subjects:
he, she, it, the dog, my nose
9. Articles a, an, the
• THE big worm with A green head on AN apple.

These are the only three articles in English:
• a, an = indefinite articles
• the = definite article
10. Contractible copula
A set of BE morphemes: am, are, is 'm, 're, 's

• He IS a friend; IT'S windy; I AM awesome

• "copula" = use of the verb BE as the
main verb (followed by a NP or AdjP
rather than a progressive verb)
11. Contractible auxiliary
BE: am, are, is, 'm, 're, 's

• It's raining; I'm studying;

• "auxiliary" = use of BE as the helping
verb followed by a VERB-ing VP

• Always {PRES} BE form
12. Uncontractible copula
BE: am, are, is, was, were

• This is it; He was tired

• Grammatical and phonetic uncontractability
13. Uncontractible auxiliary
• am, are, is, was, were

• This is sleeping; He was sleeping
14. Irregular 3rd person
• has, does

• Include main verb and an auxiliary

• She HAS to go home;
He DOESN'T like that, DOES he?