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The Emergence of CP in Child Japanese
Keiko Okada and John Grinstead
213-218 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


In Hagstrom (1998), it is argued that wh- and yes-no questions are formed in adult Japanese by overt movement of -ka or -no question particles to functional projections of the clausal periphery. This view of wh- movement in Japanese assumes the existence of a Complementizer Phrase to which these question particles move. Such a view contrasts sharply with earlier work on Japanese syntax, which argues for the non-existence of functional projections such as DP or CP in adult Japanese (cf. Fukui 1986). If Hagstrom's proposal is correct, one might expect question particles to emerge in child language at roughly the same time as other plausible left-peripheral structures. However, in a proposal such as Fukui's which does not assume the existence of CP in questions, we would not expect question elements such as -ka and -no to emerge at the same time as other left-peripheral structures. In an attempt to bring acquisition evidence to bear on the question of adult Japanese phrase structure, we searched the 20,343 utterances of the Aki corpus of CHILDES (Miyata 1992) for the emergence of imperatives, topicalizations, sentence-final modal particles -ne and -yo (Endo 1996), sentence-final question markers -no and -ka, complementizers, overt subjects, wh- words, and relative clauses. Our findings are that over a three month period (2;2 - 2;4), a large proportion of adult left-peripheral structures emerge in the speech of Aki. These results appear to be generally confirmatory of and consistent with Hagstrom's proposal of an overt movement analysis of questions in adult Japanese and are suggestive of early access by children to the grammatical features that constitute CP.

Published in

Proceedings of the 6th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2002): L2 Links
edited by Juana M. Liceras, Helmut Zobl, and Helen Goodluck
Table of contents
Printed edition: $340.00