Chapter published in:Argument Structure and Syntactic Relations: A cross-linguistic perspective
Edited by Maia Duguine, Susana Huidobro and Nerea Madariaga
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 158] 2010
► pp. 305–324
Zero time-arguments in French child language
We argue that zero-tenses in L1 French surface as either past (parameter value in SOT languages) or present (parameter value in non-SOT languages). Co-existing parameter settings in child language are expected on a Multiple Grammar approach where acquisition involves grammar competition. Our proposal explains why French children allow non-indexical/zero-tense construals of present, although present (under past) is utterance-indexical in SOT languages. It extends to children acquiring a non-SOT language: Japanese children allow (non-adult) zero-tense construals of past. We further argue for a scopal account of independent construals of relative clauses. Together with the observation of Isomorphism in the syntax/LF mapping in child language, the scopal account explains why children enforce non-indexical/zero-tense construals of present/past in relative (but not complement) clauses.
Published online: 14 July 2010