The acquisition of A- and A’-bound pronouns in Brazilian Portuguese

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Previous studies on the acquisition of pronouns have concentrated either on A-bound or on A’-bound (resumptive) pronouns. In both cases, children performed at chance-level. In this work, I argue that the poor performance is due to a single underlying cause. This conclusion receives support from results of tests I conducted with Brazilian Portuguese-speaking children, in which the same children performed poorly with both A-bound and resumptive pronouns. I follow Grodzinsky and Reinhart’s (1993) claim that children’s behavior is due to their limited working memory, but diverge from them in arguing that the problem resides in comparing syntactic computations, not semantic interpretations. The two analyses make different predictions for resumptive pronouns, where the interpretations for a derivation with a gap and a pronoun are the same and children still have problems.


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