Nov 07, 2011
The following paper appeared last March:
Pires, Acrisio, Jason Rothman and Ana L. Santos. 2011. L1 Acquisition across Portuguese Dialects: Modular and interdisciplinary interfaces as sources of explanation. Special Issue: Acquisition at the Linguistic Interfaces. Lingua 121.4: 605-22.
This study investigates the child (L1) acquisition of properties at the interfaces of morpho-syntax, syntax-semantics and syntax-pragmatics, by focusing on inflected infinitives in European Portuguese (EP). Three child groups were tested, 6–7-year-olds, 9–10-year-olds and 11–12-year-olds, as well as an adult control group. The data demonstrate that children as young as 6 have knowledge of the morpho-syntactic properties of inflected infinitives, although they seem at first glance to show partially insufficient knowledge of their syntax–semantic interface properties (i.e. non-obligatory control properties), differently from children aged 9 and older, who show clearer evidence of knowledge of both types of properties. However, in general, both morpho-syntactic and syntax–semantics interface properties are also accessible to 6–7-year-old children, although these children give preference to a range of interpretations partially different from the adults; in certain cases, they may not appeal to certain pragmatic inferences that permit additional interpretations to adults and older children. Crucially, our data demonstrate that EP children master the two types of properties of inflected infinitives years before Brazilian Portuguese children do ( [Pires and Rothman, 2009a] and [Pires and Rothman, 2009b] ), reasons for and implications of which we discuss in detail.