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Some notes on the syntax–pragmatics interface in bilingual children

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Abstract

The present article investigates finite verb placement in German subordinate clauses. It will argue that there is cross-linguistic influence in the case of bilingual German-French and German-Italian children. The children use a Romance syntactic derivation for German finite subordinate clauses which is based on an analysis of Romance infinitival clauses in which the prepositional complementizers enter the derivation above the VP, and not as sister to the IP they are associated with. The relation between complementizer and IP is expressed by movement of the IP from within the VP to the specifier position of the complementizer. The generalization of this type of derivation to all kinds of complementizers is enforced by the existence of constructions in the German input of the children which are compatible with this kind of analysis. The result of the child analysis is root word order in German subordinate clauses. We will argue that the children chose the Romance analysis since it minimizes the interaction between syntax and pragmatics.

References

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