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Share Paper 3204

Absolutive Constructions in Brazilian Portuguese and Relativized Minimality Effects in Children's Productions
Elaine Grolla and Marina Augusto
36-47 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The difficulty faced by children in object relative clause elicitation tasks has recently been related to the issue of intervention (Friedmann, Belletti & Rizzi (2009). A closer look at the alternative structures children resort to in order to avoid object relative clauses has shown that most of them lack an intervening element. The present investigation contributes to this debate, focusing on a particular construction found in Brazilian Portuguese: the absolutive construction. Absolutives involve movement of the internal argument of an agentive verb to a preverbal position and agreement between this element and the verb. Absolutive relatives resemble subject relatives in that no intervening element is present between the origin and final landing sites. An elicitation task conducted with 40 four- and five-year-old children acquiring Brazilian Portuguese and 20 adults has shown that children do produce this kind of structure at high rates. These results corroborate the view that intervening elements are costly and that children tend to resort to simpler structures in order to avoid object relatives.

Published in

Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2015)
edited by Laurel Perkins, Rachel Dudley, Juliana Gerard, and Kasia Hitczenko
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Printed edition: $320.00