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On child subjects in a partially <i>pro</i>-drop language

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Abstract

In this paper we investigate the production of (null) subjects in the spontaneous speech of 15 monolingual children between the ages of 1;09 and 3;01 acquiring Hebrew, a partially <i>pro</i>-drop language. Our results show that all children behave adultlike regarding the <i>pro</i>-drop part of Hebrew. Furthermore, Root Infinitives appear with underspecified subjects (most of them null), and the majority of the finite verbs requiring an overt subject occur correctly with a specified subject as predicted by Hoekstra &amp; Hyams (1995): 67% for the younger children, and 96% for the older children. The 33% unexplained underspecified subjects with finite verbs in the youngest age group are accounted for by the lack of the pragmatic Concept of Non-Shared Assumptions (Schaeffer 1999).

References

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