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The nominal analysis of children's interpretations of adjunct PRO clauses

Goodluck, H. (2001) The nominal analysis of children's interpretations of adjunct PRO clauses. Language, 77 (3). pp. 494-509. ISSN 0097-8507

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The hypothesis that children’s errors in interpreting adjunct PRO clauses are due to their use of a nominal structure was tested in two act-out experiments. Four- to six-year-old Englishspeaking children permitted a by phrase inside an adjunct clause containing an intransitive verb to be interpreted as agentive, and they gave such an interpretation for a construction for which a nominal analysis is not permitted in the adult grammar (when PRO clauses). This behavior can be accounted for if children have knowledge of general principles governing the interpretation of nominaland PRO constructions, and use a nominalanal ysis in interpreting adjunct clauses. In the second experiment, children distinguish between constructions that are unambiguously nominaland those that are ambiguous between a nominaland PRO structure, permitting agentive readings of by more frequently in the former case. This argues that adjunct PRO may be acquired by some children at a point during the preschool years. Overall the results fit a view of acquisition in which the language learner actively analyzes the input data, using knowledge of general grammatical principles, and is not narrowly bound by his or her current knowledge of the lexicon of the language.*

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Language and Linguistic Science (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2009 16:51
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2009 16:51
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/lan.2001.0159
Status: Published
Publisher: Linguistic Society of America
Identification Number: 10.1353/lan.2001.0159
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6956

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