A’-dependencies in French

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French has several optional strategies for the formation of wh-interrogatives, whereas relative clauses (RCs) do not display this optionality. In a comprehension study with French-speaking children aged 5 to 8, we show that two factors interact in the processing of object A’-dependencies in child French: (a) the optionality of having the object in an ex-situ or in-situ position and (b) the featural make-up of the object. This is the first comprehension study that explores the effect of structural complexity (ex-situ vs. in-situ) coupled with featural specification of wh-constituents (−NP vs. +NP) across different types of A’-dependencies in French (wh-questions vs. RCs). As such, our study complements previous production studies on the developmental order of these structures in French children.


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