Truncation in child L2 acquisition: Evidence from verbless utterances

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This chapter examines the nature of verbless utterances, namely utterances requiring a copula or a lexical verb in the target language, in longitudinal production data of two English-speaking children learning French (aged 5;4 and 5;8 at the onset of acquisition). It is suggested that such utterances are projections of lexical categories, much like root infinitives. This is argued to support the Truncation Hypothesis in child L2 acquisition, according to which root declaratives may be underlied by either functional or lexical projections in the early stages (Prévost & White 2000a). This contrasts with proposals by Ionin and Wexler (2002) that verbless utterances stem from access problems to the relevant lexical forms.


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