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Bookmark and Share Paper 1542

Animacy, Expletives, and the Learning of the Raising-Control Distinction
Misha Becker
12-20 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


A previous experiment showed that children ages 3-4 permit control verbs (e.g., want) to occur with an inanimate subject. Becker (2006) accounted for this pattern in terms of children's willingness to allow these verbs to have properties of raising verbs (e.g., seem) in certain constructions. This paper tests an alternative account of that finding by examining children's pairing of subjects and predicates on the basis of animacy in simple monoclausal sentences. In addition, a second experiment demonstrates that children permit control verbs to occur in a further sentential context that, for the adult grammar, permits only raising verbs: namely, with expletive subjects. Both experiments support the original account of the previous experiment.

Published in

Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA)
edited by Alyona Belikova, Luisa Meroni, and Mari Umeda
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00