Edited by Suzanne Aalberse and Anita Auer
[Linguistics in the Netherlands 30] 2013
► pp. 61–72
Verbal inflection errors in child L1
Syntax or phonology?
Song, Sundara & Demuth (2009) find an asymmetrical pattern for verbal inflection errors in child English: They observe more errors in sentence medial position than in sentence final position. To account for this asymmetry, they point towards the surface differences of both sentence positions. A similar asymmetry in Dutch, in which embedded clauses cause fewer problems for verbal inflection than main clauses, has been related to V2 (van Kampen 1997; Bastiaanse & van Zonneveld 1998; Weerman, Duinmeijer & Orgassa 2011). The present study disentangles both explanations (sentence position, i.e. ‘phonology’ vs. V2, i.e. ‘syntax’), and aims to provide a unified account for both the patterns found in English and Dutch. The inclusion of PP-over-V constructions in a sentence repetition task with monolingual Dutch children (aged 4;0 to 6;2) enables us to show that the phonological account proposed for English can account for the Dutch pattern as well.
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