Acquisition of focus marking in European Portuguese

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This paper investigates whether children make the distinction between syntactic marking and prosodic marking of focus. The acquisition of focus marking provides a good testing ground to compare parametric and interface views on focus. If focus marking is parametric, children acquiring a language with syntactic focus marking should fail to comprehendmarked word orders. If a language marks focus only prosodically, they should initially fail to comprehend prosodic markedness. Crucially, in Portuguese, in which both strategies co-exist, children are expected to fail on both. The results show that children have problems with the prosodic strategy only, favoring an interface approach to focus.


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