The Wug Test Revisited — A Research Project
I (Chris) completed a Senior Research Project this last year of high school. (If you didn’t know, I’m not in college or linguistics classes yet. I’ll be at New York University next year to eventually major in French and Linguistics.) Since I was allowed to choose my subject for this major project, I picked Dr. Jean Berko Gleason’s Wug Test and attempted to expand her original research.
Below are both the final paper and the PowerPoint presentation I gave at my school’s Senior Symposium. It should be noted that no part of my research is available to be cited as a source in any papers or research conducted by anyone. If you are seeking literature on the Wug Test, morphology, or language acquisition, please see the references list beginning on page 13 of the paper. Do not cite this paper or presentation as a reputable, scientific source, and it should be read for interest purposes only.
Using the Wug Test to Determine the Acquisition of Morphemes in Children (Paper: GoogleDoc)
Abstract: This paper reports and analyzes the findings of a particular method of determining first language acquisition, commonly known as the Wug Test. As described in Dr. Gleason’s 1958 paper, this test provides imaginary words for children to inflect in order to discover how they understand and interpret basic morphemes. This study expands upon the original test by testing groups of participants of different ages and by adding a real word component for comparison purposes, as well as a section dedicated to derivational morphology. Findings suggest that significant inflection abilities develop between the ages of five and nine, possibly signifying that linguistic abilities in humans are not entirely innate, but must instead be cultivated through interaction.
Keywords: language acquisition, linguistics, morphology, wug test
PowerPoint Presentation: GoogleDoc
Before you explore these documents, I also warn that this project was devised in early 2011, before I had properly educated myself in linguistics. Since this was a class assignment, many restrictions were in place that required me to work in ways antithetical to proper research. I devised a hypothesis and conducted the actual experimentation before I completed the literature review, something anyone in academia would advise highly against. However, I had assignments of this paper due in bits and pieces, and testing for this project was extremely time consuming. The limitations on this paper far exceed the knowledge it adds to the field, and it is a poor source. If I had time, I would love to conduct this research again with more knowledge of the field. So before you comment, please know that I am well aware of many of the faults found in this paper, both in methodology and in linguistic accuracy.
If you have any questions or comments concerning this project, I urge you to ask me with a tumblr account so I can privately reply, or provide me with an email address. (If you’re wondering about my grade, I only know that I received an “A” on the final project and an “A” for the course. The biggest thing I learned was what not to do in the future.)