The acquisition of experiencers in Spanish L1 and the external argument requirement hypothesis

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We present evidence that children have difficulty with the Spanish psych verbs that do not project the subject as the external argument. Our findings support the External Argument Requirement Hypothesis (EARH), according to which children until 5 or more have trouble with base structures that don’t assign a subject/external argument. On the basis of our results, we argue that acquisition of the entire class of psych verbs depends on the acquisition of one linguistic property that allows the L1 grammar to generate structures with no external argument.


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