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LINGUIST List 20.110

Tue Jan 13 2009

Diss: Lang Acq/Syntax: Waldmann: 'Input och output. Ordföljd i ...'

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        1.    Christian Waldmann, Input och output. Ordföljd i svenska barns huvudsatser och bisatser/Input and Output: Word order in Swedish children's main and embedded clauses


Message 1: Input och output. Ordföljd i svenska barns huvudsatser och bisatser/Input and Output: Word order in Swedish children's main and embedded clauses
Date: 13-Jan-2009
From: Christian Waldmann <christian.waldmannvxu.se>
Subject: Input och output. Ordföljd i svenska barns huvudsatser och bisatser/Input and Output: Word order in Swedish children's main and embedded clauses
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Institution: Lund University
Program: Department of Scandinavian Languages
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Christian Waldmann

Dissertation Title: Input och output. Ordföljd i svenska barns huvudsatser och bisatser/Input and Output: Word order in Swedish children's main and embedded clauses

Dissertation URL: http://luur.lub.lu.se/luur?func=downloadFile&fileOId=1148127

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): Swedish (swe)

Dissertation Director:
Lisa U. Christensen
Christer Platzack
Ute Bohnacker

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis investigates the word order in the main and embedded clauses of
four Swedish monolingual children, covering the age range 1;3-4;0. Using a
generative framework, a quantitative and qualitative analysis focusing on
the syntax of verb placement and complementizers is presented.

Chapters 1 to 4 offer a background to the thesis. In chapter 1 the aims and
the material are presented. Chapter 2 provides a generative analysis of
verb placement and complementizers, constituting the descriptive framework
of the empirical studies. Chapter 3 discusses some theoretical issues in
language acquisition research and their implementation into the study.
Particular attention is paid to the relation between input and output.
Finally, chapter 4 depicts some methodological considerations.

Chapters 5 to 8 present the empirical results. It is shown that Swedish
children are exposed to a robust input of verb movement to the second
position in the clause, C°, whereas the input frequency for the absence of
verb movement from V° is very low. In embedded clauses the input is
ambiguous between verb movement and absence of movement. Also Swedish
children are exposed to both overt and covert complementizers.

Early on, three children productively and consistently move the finite verb
to the second position (C°) in main clauses. The fourth child acquires verb
movement in main clauses gradually. The finite verb initially seems to
surface in its base-generated position (V°), then in a medial position (I°)
and finally in the second position (C°). All four children had mastered
verb movement to the second position in main clauses when they started
producing embeddings with overt and covert complementizers. Finally, all
children occasionally over-generalize verb movement in embedded clauses by
incorrectly placing the verb before a sentence adverbial instead of after it.

Chapter 9 discusses the theoretical ramifications by evaluating the
empirical results in the light of the theoretical issues discussed in
chapter 3. Especially I argue against a particular structure-building
hypothesis to functional differentiation which states that overt
complementizers trigger the acquisition of the CP-layer. Furthermore, I
propose that inaccurate verb movement in embedded clauses in Swedish
children is the result of an ambiguous input. This suggests a greater role
for input than traditionally assumed in generative acquisition studies.



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