Article published in:The Acquisition of Syntax in Romance Languages
Edited by Vincent Torrens and Linda Escobar
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 41] 2006
► pp. 23–49
On the acquisition of ambiguous Valency-Marking Morphemes
Insights from the acquisition of French SE
A modified version of the Maturation Hypothesis that considers the maturation of chains, the impact of ambiguity on acquisition and the use of overt and systematic morphological cues by children is shown to account for the acquisition findings reported on English, Hebrew, Inuktitut, Kiche, Russian and Sesotho. The Barriere Version of the Maturation hypothesis enables us to predict: (a) the order of acquisition of different SE-constructions (including reflexive, reciprocal, anticausative and middle-passive), (b) the order of acquisition of SE and related (short and long) passive constructions and (c) the manifestations of the overgeneralization of argument structure alternation by French-speaking children. These predictions are born out by the analysis of speech production and experimental data collected on 200 children.
Published online: 26 July 2006