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OV sequences in early child Catalan and English

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Abstract

In this paper I investigate the nature of preverbal objects in child English and Catalan. OV sequences occur in the children&#8217;s productions between approximately 19 months and 2 years of age even though both adult English and Catalan display VO word order. I claim that OV sequences emerge in child English and Catalan after Telicity Phrase and Aspect Phrase have been acquired but are still underspecified, thus not forcing movement of objects and verbs to Tel<sup>0</sup> and Asp<sup>0</sup> respectively. While V-to-Asp<sup>0</sup> without object-to-Tel<sup>0</sup> yields VO word order, the opposite yields OV, which disappears as soon as both movements can no longer take place non-simultaneously. In child Catalan, two kinds of OV sequences are distinguished: &#8216;true&#8217; OV sequences, which occur with non-finite and non-adult inflected verbs, and Focus fronted OV combinations, which are attested with adult-like inflected verbs and whose syntax is different from &#8216;true&#8217; OVs.

References

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