The interaction between question formation and verbal morphology in the acquisition of Hebrew

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Question formation in Hebrew involves wh-movement, but no verb or auxiliary movement. A longitudinal study of 4 Hebrew speaking children aged 1;63;0 shows that children go through four phases in their use of questions, which are differentiated by the use of verbs and verbal morphology. The same order is found in declaratives, but the use of verbal morphology in interrogatives lags behind its use in declaratives. The interaction between question formation and verbal morphology reflects a bottom-up construction of the adult tree, in which each new functional node initially serves as a phase, alternating between checking uninterpretable features and targeting A'-movement, until all uninterpretable features are checked for the particular head. At this point, the next functional node is projected, and the same process is repeated, until C is projected.


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