8. The subjects of unaccusative verbs in bilingual Basque/Spanish children

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The upsurge of interest in word order rules amongst generative scholars over the last ten years has led to approaches which combine syntax, pragmatics and phonology in a highly persuasive explanatory way (Zubizarreta (1998); Cinque (1993) to name but a few). This chapter examined the position of the subjects of unaccusative verbs and their pragmatic entailments in the speech of two Basque/Spanish children brought up bilingually. The longitudinal data were analyzed with respect to the position of the subject and its information status. The results showed that there were two clear patterns of acquisition depending on the language concerned and have been discussed in the light of old and new hypotheses. Our discussion will be centred around the issues of the left periphery (Rizzi 1997) and cross-linguistic influence (Müller & Hulk 2001) since the domain of preverbal subjects meets the criteria proposed by the latter.


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