Chapter published in:L1 Acquisition and L2 Learning: The view from Romance
Edited by Larisa Avram, Anca Sevcenco and Veronica Tomescu
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 65] 2021
► pp. 260–288
Combining Focus VS and Topic constructions
The acquisition of discourse and conversational dynamics strategies in child Italian
This study focuses on the association between postverbal Focus subjects and the realization of left/right topicalization in the same sentence. Based on data collected with Italian children aged 3 to 9, evidence is provided for the existence of significant associations between VS, Topics and verb types in specific age groups, also identifying some turning points in the acquisition of discourse-related managing competences. In particular, a crucial interaction can be found between information structures and conversational dynamics, so that the Focus types affecting the common ground management are mainly associated with Topics that only refer to the common ground content. On the other hand, the VSO/OVS alternation is not affected by verb types, except motion verbs, plausibly calling for a distinction within the unaccusative class.
Keywords: Italian, conversational dynamics, Focus, Topic, (postverbal) subject
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