The syntax of subjects in the acquisition of Spanish and Catalan

The syntax of subjects in the acquisition of Spanish and Catalan In the acquisition literature, the phenomenon of early null subjects has received a lot of attention over the past two decades, especially in the case of non null subject languages. A number of different proposals have been advanced by Hyams (1986, 1994, 1996), Valian (1991) and Rizzi (1994), among others. Based on longitudinal data from three Spanish-speaking children and three Catalan-speaking children aged 1;7­2;8, I investigate null and overt subjects in the acquisition of two null subject languages, Spanish and Catalan, and argue in favor of an analysis within the Continuity Hypothesis. Briefly, in the area of the syntax of subjects, this hypothesis predicts an early convergence between child and adult grammars. The analysis addresses the question of finiteness, i.e., whether there are differences in the behavior of subjects between finite and non-finite constructions. The findings allow us to propose that early grammars of Spanish and Catalan have Tense, except for non-finite constructions. For these non-finite structures I propose an extension of Rizzi's Truncation Hypothesis. The theoretical consequences derived from the analysis are extended to other phenomena, such as pronominal subjects and the relative position of subjects, and other languages, such as English, and confirm the above mentioned http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Probus - International Journal of Latin and Romance Linguistics de Gruyter

The syntax of subjects in the acquisition of Spanish and Catalan

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG
ISSN
0921-4771
eISSN
1613-4079
DOI
10.1515/prbs.2003.003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the acquisition literature, the phenomenon of early null subjects has received a lot of attention over the past two decades, especially in the case of non null subject languages. A number of different proposals have been advanced by Hyams (1986, 1994, 1996), Valian (1991) and Rizzi (1994), among others. Based on longitudinal data from three Spanish-speaking children and three Catalan-speaking children aged 1;7­2;8, I investigate null and overt subjects in the acquisition of two null subject languages, Spanish and Catalan, and argue in favor of an analysis within the Continuity Hypothesis. Briefly, in the area of the syntax of subjects, this hypothesis predicts an early convergence between child and adult grammars. The analysis addresses the question of finiteness, i.e., whether there are differences in the behavior of subjects between finite and non-finite constructions. The findings allow us to propose that early grammars of Spanish and Catalan have Tense, except for non-finite constructions. For these non-finite structures I propose an extension of Rizzi's Truncation Hypothesis. The theoretical consequences derived from the analysis are extended to other phenomena, such as pronominal subjects and the relative position of subjects, and other languages, such as English, and confirm the above mentioned

Journal

Probus - International Journal of Latin and Romance Linguisticsde Gruyter

Published: Apr 23, 2003

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