A cross-linguistic study of the acquisition of clitic and pronoun production

Spyridoula Varlokosta, Adriana Belletti, João Costa, Naama Friedmann, Anna Gavarró, Kleanthes K. Grohmann, Maria Teresa Guasti, Laurice Tuller, Maria Lobo, Darinka Anđelković, Núria Argemí, Larisa Avram, Sanne Berends, Valentina Brunetto, Hélène Delage, María José Ezeizabarrena, Iris Fattal, Ewa Haman, Angeliek van Hout, Kristine Jensen de LópezNapoleon Katsos, Lana Kologranic, Nadezda Krstić, Jelena Kuvac Kraljevic, Aneta Miękisz, Michaela Nerantzini, Clara Queraltó, Zeljana Radic, Sílvia Ruiz, Uli Sauerland, Anca Sevcenco, Magdalena Smoczyńska, Eleni Theodorou, Heather van der Lely, Alma Veenstra, John Weston, Maya Yachini, Kazuko Yatsushiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study develops a single elicitation method to test the acquisition of third-person pronominal objects in 5-year-olds for 16 languages. This methodology allows us to compare the acquisition of pronominals in languages that lack object clitics (“pronoun languages”) with languages that employ clitics in the relevant context (“clitic languages”), thus establishing a robust cross-linguistic baseline in the domain of clitic and pronoun production for 5-year-olds. High rates of pronominal production are found in our results, indicating that children have the relevant pragmatic knowledge required to select a pronominal in the discourse setting involved in the experiment as well as the relevant morphosyntactic knowledge involved in the production of pronominals. It is legitimate to conclude from our data that a child who at age 5 is not able to produce any or few pronominals is a child at risk for language impairment. In this way, pronominal production can be taken as a developmental marker, provided that one takes into account certain cross-linguistic differences discussed in the article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalLanguage Acquisition
Volume23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016

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    Varlokosta, S., Belletti, A., Costa, J., Friedmann, N., Gavarró, A., Grohmann, K. K., ... Yatsushiro, K. (2016). A cross-linguistic study of the acquisition of clitic and pronoun production. Language Acquisition, 23(1), 1-26.