Minimal Answers

Ellipsis, syntax and discourse in the acquisition of European Portuguese

ORCID logoAna Lúcia Santos | University of Lisbon
ISBN 9789027253095 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027289766 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
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This book offers a new contribution to the debate concerning the acquisition of the syntax-discourse interface. It provides evidence that children acquiring European Portuguese have a very early ability to spontaneously produce VP ellipsis as answers to yes-no questions. It is also argued that the distribution of VP ellipsis in European Portuguese (including its co-existence with Null Complement Anaphora) supports the hypothesis that the identification condition on ellipsis is derivable from some innate knowledge of the syntax-discourse interface. Answers to yes-no questions also provide evidence concerning children’s interpretation of questions containing a cleft or the operator ‘only’. The analysis of spontaneous production is complemented by a comprehension experiment, showing that children have two problems in the interpretation of these questions: (i) they do not understand that the cleft and introduce a presupposition and (ii) they start with a default focus assignment strategy and may not access other focus interpretations.
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders, 48] 2009.  xv, 296 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“This book overall is an impressive and major contribution to the field of language acquisition. It is a model dissertation for students of language acquisition, and sets the stage for further exploration of the syntax/discourse interface in young children’s grammars.”
“Santos is to be commended for the scope of the study presented, from its impeccable methodology that combines spontaneous production with experiments that more directly tap competence, to the insightful analysis, which reflects a keen understanding of all the relevant issues in acquisition theory and most impressively of the theoretical syntactic ones.[...]. We highly recommend this book. It will be a useful resource for graduate students and academics interested in interface acquisition issues, particularly so for those with an interest in the acquisition of Romance languages.”

Main BIC Subject

CFDC: Language acquisition

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2008050227