I investigate the nature of root infinitives (RIs) in early child French as a second language by focusing on the verb types occurring in those utterances and on their aspectual interpretation. Two strong contingencies were observed in spontaneous production data from two anglophone children learning French: first, non-eventive predicates are restricted to finite declaratives, whereas eventive predicates can occur in either finite declaratives or in RIs. Second, the majority of RIs have a future/modal interpretation, against about 10% for finite declaratives. These results are argued to be compatible with the Truncation Hypothesis which holds that RIs are VPs underlyingly. They are also similar to the findings on RIs produced by children learning a first language with overt infinitival morphology (such as Dutch).
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
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