Chapter published in:On the Acquisition of the Syntax of Romance
Edited by Anna Gavarró
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 62] 2018
► pp. 57–89
The acquisition of Spanish passives: The Comparison Between Subject Experiencer Versus Actional Verbs and Direct Aspectual Semantic Evidence for the Adjectival Interpretation
Jesús Oliva | Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas | Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT
Ken Wexler | Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas | Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT
We test the maturational/adjectival analysis theory of development of passives in Spanish. Children perform less well on psychological passives than on actional passives. Since Borer and Wexler (1987), the most prominent hypothesis is that this difference is due to children’s use of an adjectival interpretation of passives. Spanish passives are aux + participle, with different auxiliaries for verbal/adjectival. In Experiment 1, children perform better on actional than on psychological passives. Experiment 2, using the method of Gavarró and Parramon (2017), tests the eventive/stative interpretation of passives directly. As predicted, children often recover an incorrect stative interpretation for verbal passives. Strikingly, the non-commonsensical prediction of the theory that there is a negative correlation between adult-like performance in the theta-role and aspect experiments is confirmed.
Keywords: passive development, passive acquisition, verbal passive, adjectival passive, Spanish passive, acquisition of Spanish passives
Published online: 12 December 2018
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