What do Argentinian children know about clitics that linguists don't?

Eisenchlas, Susana. (2002). What do Argentinian children know about clitics that linguists don't? PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

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Author Eisenchlas, Susana.
Thesis Title What do Argentinian children know about clitics that linguists don't?
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2002
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor M. Laughren
Total pages 289
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subjects L
751001 Languages and literature
380299 Linguistics not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
Clitic pronouns have been one of the most researched topics in the field of Romance languages linguistics, and more studies are constantly being published, adding new theoretical insights. But there is still no account that presents a unified description of the phenomenon of cliticisation, nor is there consensus regarding the syntactic status of clitics and on what accounts for their position at spell-out. This dissertation examines a number of proposals to explain clitic placement, and discusses theoretical evidence in support of a movement approach. It then explores some syntactic phenomena, such as clitic doubling, clitic climbing and clitic clusters, in order to present a unified proposal to account for the syntactic behaviour of clitics. It proposes that the interplay between Case Assignment, Animacy and Feature Checking could explain these phenomena, usually analysed in isolation from one another.

The main aim of this dissertation is to breach the gap between the theoretical and the empirical studies of cliticisation, trying to provide a link between our theoretical insights through the examination of first language acquisition data. Given that the clitic pronominal system in Spanish is subject to rigid syntactic constraints, this dissertation investigates the way in which young children acquire clitics pronouns. In particular, it examines whether children ever make mistakes that suggest discontinuity between child and adult Spanish, and whether the mistakes children make can be used as evidence to decide between competing syntactic theories.

This dissertation shows that from the earliest testable age children have the grammatical competence for clitic placement, and never make certain logical, but unattested, mistakes. Evidence for this claim is sought by experimentally studying children's responses to a number of constructions involving chtic, using the elicited imitation technique and corroborating the findings with spontaneous speech data. References are also made to the differing acquisition routes taken by native children acquiring Spanish on the one hand and bilingual and adult learners of Spanish on the other. The data seem to indicate that first and second language acquisition processes are fundamentally different.
Keyword Grammar, Comparative and general -- Clitics.
Romance languages -- Pronoun.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:04:19 EST