Patterns of copula omission in Italian child language

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This paper concerns the production of the copula <i>Essere </i>and of the auxiliaries <i>Essere </i>and <i>Avere </i>in Italian child language. A relevant omission phenomenon emerges from the data, robust in declarative contexts but absent inWh interrogative contexts. This pattern indicates the operativity of a strong syntactic constraint and perfectly matches the distribution of Root Infinitives as analysed in Rizzi (1993/1994). It then seems that Child Italian copular data can be accounted for in terms of Rizzi’s Truncation hypothesis, thus supporting the idea that child grammar is a full fledged UG constrained system. Data on morphological selection within the copular domain further support this hypothesis, showing that even the choice of “non adult like” morphological forms is syntactically constrained.<br /> <br /><br />


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