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Simple Monotransitive and Complex Dative Alternation Predicates in Spanish Monolingual Child Acquisition Data

Silvia Sánchez Calderón ORCID logo
From the journal Probus

Abstract

This work analyzes the acquisition of simple and complex constructions in Spanish monolingual children’s data. It examines the emergence and the role played by adult input in child production of simple monotransitive constructions when compared to two types of complex predicates that undergo dative alternation (DA), namely, a/para-datives and dative-clitic doubled (DCLD) structures. In order to shed light on these issues, we have analyzed data from Spanish monolingual children and from the adults that they interact with, as available in CHILDES (MacWhinney, Brian. 2000. The CHILDES project: Tools for analyzing talk [Dataset], 3rd edn. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. http://childes.talkbank.org (accessed 20 October 2019)). The results show that there is an order in the onset of simple and complex predicate constructions, as reflected in the earlier emergence of monotransitives when compared to DA constructions. The latter also show a subsequent order of first occurrence, namely, DCLDs before a/para-datives. Thus, the degree of syntactic complexity seems to have played a role in the acquisition of simple and complex constructions, as measured by the number of Case assignment relations between the verb and its internal argument(s). Moreover, the differences in the Spanish monolingual children’s incidence of the three structures under analysis do not appear to be explained by the relative frequency of exposure in the adult input.


Corresponding author: Silvia Sánchez Calderón, Facultad de Filología UNED, National University of Distance Education (UNED), Edificio de Humanidades, Paseo Senda del Rey 7, 28040Madrid, Spain, E-mail:

Funding source: Castile and León Regional Government (Spain)

Award Identifier / Grant number: ORDEN EDU/1083/2013

Funding source: European Social Funding and the University of Valladolid (Spain)

Funding source: Castile and León Regional Government and FEDER

Award Identifier / Grant number: VA009P17

Funding source: Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and FEDER

Award Identifier / Grant number: PGC2018-097693-B-I00

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Castile and León Regional Government (Spain), ORDEN EDU/1083/2013, 27 December, co-funded by the European Social Funding and the University of Valladolid (Spain); by the Castile and León Regional Government and FEDER (ref. VA009P17), and by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and FEDER (PGC2018-097693-B-I00).

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Published Online: 2021-04-15
Published in Print: 2021-05-26

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