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Pronominal case and verbal finiteness contingencies in child English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2013

JOHN GRINSTEAD*
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
MORGAN DONNELLAN
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
JENNIFER BARAJAS
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
MARY JOHNSON
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
*
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE John Grinstead, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Ohio State University, 298 Hagerty Hall, 1775 College Road, Columbus, OH 43210. E-mail: grinstead.11@osu.edu

Abstract

Child English speakers use nonnominative pronouns in subject position but do not tend to use these types of pronouns with finite verbs. Recent findings demonstrate that knowledge of the pronoun paradigm is relevant to pronoun case errors below the 60% correct finiteness marking level but irrelevant above it. We use a receptive test with children who are above the 60% correct finiteness marking level and show that judgments of nominative case and verb finiteness correlate (r = .549, p < .001, n = 49), consistent with the predictions of case theory. Children at this level of finiteness marking show no asymmetry in feminine versus masculine nonnominative errors, but they do allow third singular –s with nonnominatives, which is problematic for both agreement tense omission model and constructivist priming accounts.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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