The general aim of this study is to investigate the syntactic features of verbs in acquisition. The analysis of overt subject distribution along verb classes in Italian spontaneous speech (Lorusso,Caprin &Guasti 2005) shows that overt subjects are distributed differently depending on the syntactic class of the verbs. Unaccusatives are produced preferentially with a post verbal overt subject, while unergatives and transitives with a null subject or a preverbal subject. This pattern of distribution strongly suggests that for informative or syntactic reasons children distinguish between verb classes. The VP projections in Italian also encode lexical aspectual information, such as telicity, depending on the presence of a quantified direct object (van Hout 1998). If children correctly attribute to the VPs an aspectual analysis they are supposed to have no problem to use aspectual marked morphology. In order to understand the characteristic of the l-syntax of verbs produced by children we performed two experiments about comprehension / production of verbs presenting perfective morphology. Children had to produce and comprehend perfective morphology applied to configurationally telic or atelic predicates (Lorusso 2005). The results show that children do not correctly analyse the perfective morphology with atelic predicates till a late stage, while they show no problems with telic predicates with an overt quantified object. The general hypothesis we make is that children since earliest stages systematically use and acquire an adult-like l-syntax for different verb classes like the analysis of spontaneous speech confirms. Nevertheless, children do not use the aspectual perfective morphology in an adult like fashion along verb classes. This is linked to the fact that at syntax-semantics interface children are not able to use the structural information since earliest stages. We suggest that the acquisition of VP features responsible of the acquisition of such an interface relation proceeds in a step by step fashion.

The L-Syntax of Verbs in the Acquisition of L1 Italian

Lorusso Paolo
2006

Abstract

The general aim of this study is to investigate the syntactic features of verbs in acquisition. The analysis of overt subject distribution along verb classes in Italian spontaneous speech (Lorusso,Caprin &Guasti 2005) shows that overt subjects are distributed differently depending on the syntactic class of the verbs. Unaccusatives are produced preferentially with a post verbal overt subject, while unergatives and transitives with a null subject or a preverbal subject. This pattern of distribution strongly suggests that for informative or syntactic reasons children distinguish between verb classes. The VP projections in Italian also encode lexical aspectual information, such as telicity, depending on the presence of a quantified direct object (van Hout 1998). If children correctly attribute to the VPs an aspectual analysis they are supposed to have no problem to use aspectual marked morphology. In order to understand the characteristic of the l-syntax of verbs produced by children we performed two experiments about comprehension / production of verbs presenting perfective morphology. Children had to produce and comprehend perfective morphology applied to configurationally telic or atelic predicates (Lorusso 2005). The results show that children do not correctly analyse the perfective morphology with atelic predicates till a late stage, while they show no problems with telic predicates with an overt quantified object. The general hypothesis we make is that children since earliest stages systematically use and acquire an adult-like l-syntax for different verb classes like the analysis of spontaneous speech confirms. Nevertheless, children do not use the aspectual perfective morphology in an adult like fashion along verb classes. This is linked to the fact that at syntax-semantics interface children are not able to use the structural information since earliest stages. We suggest that the acquisition of VP features responsible of the acquisition of such an interface relation proceeds in a step by step fashion.
1-84718-028-0
Lessico; Acquisizione; Verbi; Sintassi; Interfaccia Lessico-Sintassi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/3838
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