Looking for the universal core of the RI stage

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As it is well known, child Italian does not show a typical Root Infinitive (RI) stage (Guasti 1994), in contrast to German, Dutch, etc. Salustri and Hyams (2003) provided evidence from 3 monolingual Italian children and 1 bilingual German-Italian child that there exists an analogue of the RI stage in this language. We argued that the RI analogue in Italian is the imperative. In this paper, we present data from 4 additional null subject languages, Spanish, Catalan, Slovenian and Hungarian – in support of the Imperative Analogue Hypothesis (IAH). We also present relevant data from Icelandic and Dutch, both RI languages, which further support the IAH. Finally we will evaluate two competing theories of the IAH against these data.<br />


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