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4. Three acquisition puzzles and the relation between input and output

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Abstract

I discuss three puzzles arising from the study of two children acquiring Swiss German, a verb-second (V2) language which displays the verb-final pattern in embedded clauses. Before switching to the verb-final pattern the children use verb movement in embedded clauses which presents the following puzzles bearing on the relation between input and output. (i) The children generalize verb movement to all embedded clauses although a large proportion in the input unambiguously show the verb-final pattern. (ii) The children produce V2 in <i>wil </i>‘because’-clauses, although the adults usually produced the verb-final pattern. (iii) One of the children still misplaces finite auxiliaries at age 8;0. In trying to solve these puzzles I draw a comparison between the child data and adult matrix clauses, and also note similarities between these acquisition data and diachronic English data.

References

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