General programme, activity sheet

Friday 19 September, 2014 09:00 to 09:30 Oral presentation
Acquiring the unaccusative/unergative distinction: Evidence for syntax-driven approaches to lexicon-syntax interface
Authors: Raffaella Folli, Christina Sevdali, Megan Devlin

We investigate the acquisition of the unaccusative/unergative distinction by a 3L1 child (S) with English, Italian and Scottish Gaelic. The literature claims that there are differences in the acquisition of unaccusativity cross-linguistically (e.g. Babyonyshev et al 2001, vs Snyder, Hyams and Chrisma (1995). No previous study has tried to see whether the acquisition of the distinction in a speaker of English and Italian shows evidence of cross-linguistic influence. Additionally the unaccusative/unergative distinction poses an interesting puzzle: if unaccusativity is semantically determined, unaccusatives are expected to be both stable and consistent across languages and within a language. This hypothesis is ideally tested in multilingual acquisition. Abstract attached below
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Paper session D2
Place: Room 0

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