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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 21, 2008

Telic verbs in early Catalan

  • Mireia Llinàs-Grau and Mercè Coll-Alfonso
From the journal Probus


This article focuses on child speech sequences which diverge from their corresponding adult counterparts in terms of the order of their constituents. Adult Catalan does not allow neutral preverbal objects whereas early Catalan seems to allow objects preceding verbs in the very early stages. We analyse the OV sequences found in our data and show how these only show up co-occuring with a certain type of verbs, namely, ‘telic’ verbs. In line with this observation we propose that aspect is a crucial feature of these sequences projecting whenever one of these verbs is selected and providing a landing site for object movement. Another part of the analysis of the OV constructions implies noticing that the morphological make-up of the verbal elements is not always non-finite. The alternation that we observe between VO-OV constructions seems to be determined by the verb type but it is only fully accounted for if we allow for a framework in which the AGR parameter is not yet set. This possibility follows from the bilingualism proposal in Roeper (1999) where child language permits different grammars to co-exist in a particular stage. In the case under consideration the AGR feature would be allowed to have two values and thus the verb would not raise obligatorily.

Published Online: 2008-02-21
Published in Print: 2001-03-16

© Walter de Gruyter

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