|General programme, activity sheet|
||Friday 19 September, 2014
Evidence from resolving pronominal reference in Basque
Authors: Maialen Iraola Azpiroz, Maria-José Ezeizabarrena
Linguistic phenomena at the syntax-discourse interface are principal loci of childhood delays.
The uniform finding is that overt pronouns, typically used for expressing topic shift [+TS] as
opposed to null pronouns [-TS], are overgeneralized to [-TS] contexts by children and attrited
and L2 adults (Sorace 2011). The extended scope of the overt pronoun results in such a
pronoun being the learner-default, which contrasts paradoxically with the notion of linguisticdefault,
i.e. the null pronoun (Tsimpli 2011). Previous studies in one-referent predicates with
6-7-year-old L1 and L2 Basque children have shown a) a preference for null over overt
subject pronouns regardless of [+/-TS] contexts in an acceptability judgment task and b) a
non-adultlike general preference for coreference with the preceding subject, regardless of
pronoun type in a PST. The current study is a follow-up of the latter in two-referent
predicates, where again the two groups of children prefer to find an intrasentential antecedent
for both null and overt pronouns. All child data obtained so far converge in revealing that both
child groups show an immature knowledge of the discursive specificities of overt pronouns,
consistent with child Italian and Spanish (Sorace et al. 2009; Shin and Cairns 2012).
However, Basque child data do not face the paradox between the linguistic- and learnerdefault,
which may be related to the fact that Basque is a threefold pro-drop language,
allowing the omission of up to three arguments in contrast to Romance languages where only
subjects can be dropped. In addition, the importance of the input in the acquisition of the
discursive features of pronouns is compatible with a) the less adultlike interpretation of overt
pronouns by L2ers compared to L1ers and b) with the convergence of the null pronoun as the
linguistic-default in target Basque and as the learner-default in the developing grammar of
Shin, N. L. & Cairns, H. S. 2012. The development of NP selection in school-age children:
Reference and Spanish subject pronouns. Language Acquisition 19, 3-38.
Sorace, A. 2011. Pinning down the concept of "interface" in bilingualism. Linguistic
Approaches to Bilingualism 1, 1-33.
Tsimpli, I. M. 2011. External interfaces and the notion of ‘default’. Linguistic Approaches to
Bilingualism 1, 101–103.
Place: Main Room