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ERIC Number: EJ1219934
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1048-9223
Finiteness and Modality in Early Child French
Legendre, Geraldine; Gorashi, Yara; Krasnik, Sarah; Koulaguina, Elena
Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, v26 n3 p361-386 2019
We reexamine the distribution of nonfinite root forms (NRFs) in Child French on the basis of two novel spontaneous speech corpora focusing on two issues that have increasingly dominated recent analyses of French on the one hand and NRFs/RIs on the other. First, we argue that the level of NRF production peaking at ~24% is in line with the independent characterization of the language of exposure, Colloquial Spoken French, as a null-subject language. Second, we examine the contexts of NRF production and present quantitative data in support of the claim that early NRFs do not have a predominantly modal interpretation in French. Instead, a modal shift or increase over time in modal interpretation is observed that is reminiscent of the one identified in Dutch. We argue that this shift is tied to a greater level of syntactic complexity of French modals than their temporal counterparts: Temporal structures are monoclausal, while modal structures are biclausal. Overall, the results support the conclusion that an inability to systematically deploy adult-like syntactic structure plays an important role in early syntactic production and in explaining the distribution of NRFs in French.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS1251707