Diachronic evidence suggests that the pseudopartitive, a slice of pie, is a syntactically reduced version of the partitive, a slice of John's pie (Rutkowski forthcoming). If the principles that guide diachronic change are the same as those that guide language acquisition, it is reasonable to assume that children will initially have a preference for building a pseudopartitive structure when faced with a partitive. This is the first look at the syntax of the partitive and the pseudopartitive from the perspective of language acquisition. Experimental evidence shows that children aged 3-5 treat the partitive as if it were pseudopartitive, supporting the claim that children initially prefer simplified structures.
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA)
edited by Alyona Belikova, Luisa Meroni, and Mari Umeda
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