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The acquisition of Irish: a study of word order development*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2009

Tina Hickey*
Affiliation:
Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann
*
Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Abstract

This study examines the development of word order patterns in Irish, a strict VSO language. It was found that the three children studied used subject-initial utterances considerably more frequently than adults in input, and that in both adult and child the elision of the verb ‘to be’ played a significant role. Another significant factor was found to be the different restrictions on main verbs and verbal nouns with regard to the subject: in neutral sentences the main verb always precedes the subject, while the verbal noun always follows it. The Bates & MacWhinney (1979). hypothesis that early verb initialization results from a tendency to place new information before given information was also investigated.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1990

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Footnotes

*

This paper is based on an extract from a doctoral dissertation submitted to the University of Reading, England. I would especially like to thank Michael Garman for his advice, as well as Paul Fletcher, Roger Wales, Eoghan Mac Aogáin, Dónal Ó Baoill and Diarmuid Ó Sé for their helpful comments. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the parents and children who participated in the study. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Child Language Seminar, University of Durham, 1986.

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