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Indicating the root word for irregular verbs

2 thoughts on “Indicating the root word for irregular verbs”

  • Hannah

    Do you always indicate the root word for irregular verbs? So would I put the bar in every irregular used (e.g., "They flew|fly to Africa" or "the mouse got|get ready") or do I not code them unless there are errors?

  • Salt Support

    Hello Hannah,

    Thank you for your inquiry. With Standard English transcription in SALT, is not necessary to identify the root word on irregular forms when comparing your sample to one of the reference databases. SALT counts the typed words. e.g., fly and flew as two different words in analysis. If there was an error on the irregular word, there is no requirement to type the root using a vertical bar. The standard coding would look like this: They fly[EW:flew] to Africa.

    Below is the contents of SALT's Help Menu on Root Identification. This will give you more information. You may decide, for your analysis purposes, you do want to identify roots.

    What is Root Identification?
    Use the vertical bar when you want to identify a different word root than the one that was spoken. Be sure that the vertical bar and the root word directly follow the word used with no spaces between. This convention is rarely used in English transcription and is frequently used in Spanish and French transcription. Note that not using the “|” convention has no effect on MLU (mean length of utterance) or NTW (number of total words), but it does impact NDW (number of different words). The “|” doesn’t need to be used if you aren’t interested in these measures and other measures based on identifying the root form.

    English transcription
    To correctly calculate number of different words (NDW), it is sometimes necessary to explicitly define the word root. Consider the following utterances:

    1) C They fall down the cliff.
    2) C The boy fall/3s out of the tree.
    3) C They fell into the water.
    4) C They falled|fall [EO:fell] into the water.
    In 1) and 2), the words "fall" and "fall/3s" are both recognized as belonging to the word root "fall". By marking the bound morpheme in the second utterance, the word root is automatically defined as that part of the word which precedes the bound morpheme.

    In 3), the word "fell" is not recognized as the past tense of the word root "fall". This is because, to simplify English transcription, we do not identify the word root for irregular past tense verbs and irregular plurals. If, however, you wish to identify irregular forms, you could use the vertical bar as in the following utterances:

    C They fell|fall/ed into the water.

    C The geese|goose/s were honk/ing.
    In 4), "falled" is the result of an overgeneralization error and, because it isn't a real word and we don't want to give the child credit for two morphemes, the bound morpheme isn't marked. The word root is identified as "fall", however, through the use of the vertical bar convention. This word is also coded as an overgeneralization error with the code [EO:fell].

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