Zero time-arguments in French child language

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We argue that zero-tenses in L1 French surface as either past (parameter value in SOT languages) or present (parameter value in non-SOT languages). Co-existing parameter settings in child language are expected on a <i>Multiple Grammar</i> approach where acquisition involves grammar competition. Our proposal explains why French children allow <i>non-indexical</i>/zero-tense construals of present, although present (under past) is <i>utterance-indexical</i> in SOT languages. It extends to children acquiring a non-SOT language: Japanese children allow (non-adult) zero-tense construals of past. We further argue for a scopal account of independent construals of relative clauses. Together with the observation of <i>Isomorphism</i> in the syntax/LF mapping in child language, the scopal account explains why children enforce non-indexical/zero-tense construals of present/past in relative (but not complement) clauses.


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