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Mapping information structure and word order

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on the acquisition of the interplay between information structure and word order. We address the acquisition of Object Verb-Verb Object (OV-VO) alternations in Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and Ukrainian, object scrambling in German and Dutch, and object shift in Norwegian and Swedish. Acquiring these phenomena does not simply involve the acquisition of a movement operation; children have to acquire the semantic/pragmatic aspects influencing object displacement, as well as how these aspects interact with syntax. Neither the syntax nor the semantics/pragmatics per se makes such phenomena hard to acquire. Rather, mapping information structure onto syntax is challenging. System complexity and low input frequencies also contribute to acquisition delays. This chapter focuses on recent insights into the acquisition of object displacement, and indicates potential directions for future research.

References

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