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Bookmark and Share Paper 1575

Optional Infinitives in Child Spanish
Amy Pratt and John Grinstead
351-362 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper reviews evidence that nonfinite verbs occur as bare stems and as morphological infinitives in child Spanish spontaneous production, attested in a large number of studies. It also reviews studies of elicited production which show that these two forms, as well as an overgeneralized 3rd singular past form occur in both real word and invented word elicited production studies with child Spanish speakers. It then presents the results of a new grammaticality judgment task with 15 monolingual child Spanish speakers which shows that their receptive knowledge of Spanish grammar allows these nonfinite forms, even in children as old as 5;1. Finally, it shows how such facts can be easily accommodated in the Unique Checking Constraint framework of Wexler (1998), but also propose an alternative account which more effectively characterizes the data and subsumes it to the larger phenomenon of syntax-pragmatics delay.

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