Linguistics in the Netherlands 2013
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919


Schafer & Roeper (2000) have traced the acquisition order of the various occurrences of there in English monolingual children. One of their claims is that expletive there triggers the emergence of there as a discourse anaphor. Taking their approach as a starting point, we report here on a similar search that we have carried out on files from Dutch corpora in CHILDES, focussing on the two Dutch counterparts daar and er. Dutch children face a particular acquisition puzzle in having to deal with both of these equivalents for ‘there’. Our results show that discourse anaphoric daar and er emerge prior to expletive er. This clearly contradicts Schafer & Roeper’s claim for the need of an expletive trigger. We argue instead that the discrepancy between the English and Dutch findings is caused by the much larger variety of discourse anaphoric constructions with daar and er in Dutch.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse anaphora; expletives; order of acquisition; syntactic trigger
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