Acquisitional Evidence Bearing on the Account of Preverbal and Postverbal Subjects in Spanish
178-189 (complete paper
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This paper presents results from five longitudinal case studies of children acquiring Caribbean and European Spanish with an eye on contributing to the debate over the controversial status of preverbal and postverbal subjects in null-subject languages like Spanish. We submit that the two types of subject arise at the same time in child Caribbean and European Spanish, in line with Grinstead (1998, 2000) and in contrast to Casielles et al. (2006). This finding suggests that preposed and postposed subjects should receive a uniform account. However, research has shown that preverbal and postverbal subjects display distinct behaviors. Thus, the conclusion reached by this acquisition study is that preverbal and postverbal subjects share a crucial prerequisite—the final "key ingredient"—that the child needs to acquire before making effective use of the constructions. Furthermore, we observe a previously unacknowledged fact concerning the somewhat delayed emergence of the VSO order in child Spanish, contra the results of the reports summarized in Pierce (1989), which we attribute to the extremely low frequency of occurrence of VSO.
Selected Proceedings of the 13th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Luis A. Ortiz-López
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