“Which Came First: The Chicken or the Egg?” Ditransitive and Passive Constructions in the English Production of Simultaneous Bilingual English Children

Silvia Sánchez-Calderón, Raquel Fernández-Fuertes

Abstract


This article aims to shed light on the syntactic status attributed to ditransitive constructions— double object construction (DOC) and to/for-dative—with respect to which type of structure is syntactically transformed through a process analogous to that of passives. We will do so by providing an analysis of the ditransitives and passives that appear in the English production of a set of English/Spanish simultaneous bilingual twins. Our results show that DOCs start being produced earlier than to/for-datives. However, the age of onset of passives differs in the children though it is consistently produced later than ditransitives. Likewise, adult input goes hand in hand with the children’s production of ditransitives and passives since the high frequency of DOCs in this input, as opposed to the low frequency of to/for-datives and passives, is refected in child output. These fndings thus suggest that to/for-datives could be said to be derived from DOCs although, given the later acquisition of passives, no frm conclusions can be drawn as to whether this is done via a passive-like process.

Keywords: ditransitives; double object constructions; to/for-dative structures; passives; bilingual acquisition; input . .


Full Text:

PDF

References


Aoun, Joseph and Yen-hui Audrey Li. 1989. “Constituency and Scope.” Linguistic Inquiry 20 (2): 141-172.

Barss, Andrew and Howard Lasnik. 1986. “A Note on Anaphora and Double Objects.” Linguistic Inquiry 17: 347-354.

Borer, Hagit and Kenneth Wexler. 1987. “The Maturation of Syntax.” In Parameter Setting, edited by Thomas Roeper and Edwin Williams, 123-172. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.

Bowerman, Melissa. 1990. “Mapping Thematic Roles onto Syntactic Functions: Are Children Helped by Innate Linking Rules?” Linguistics 28: 1253-1289.

Brown, Roger. 1973. A First Language: The Early Stages. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Campbell, Aimee L. and Michael Tomasello. 2001. “The Acquisition of English Dative Constructions.” Applied Psycholinguistics 22: 253-267.

CHILDES. 2003-2017. “Child Language Data Exchange System.” In The TalkBank System, coordinated by Brian MacWhinney at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania. [Accessed online on April 12, 2016].

Chomsky, Noam. (1981) 1993. Lectures on Government and Binding: The Pisa Lectures. 7th edition. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

—. 1986. Knowledge of Language. New York: Praeger.

Comrie, Bernard. 1988. “Passive and Voice.” In Passive and Voice, edited by Masayoshi Shibatani, 9-23. Amsterdam and Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

Dryer, Matthew S. 1986. “Primary Objects, Secondary Objects, and Antidative.” Language 62: 808-845.

Fernández Fuertes, Raquel and Juana M. Liceras. 2010. “Copula Omission in the English Developing Grammar of English/Spanish Children.” International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 26: 525-551.

Haegeman, Liliane and Jacqueline Guerón. 1999. English Grammar: A Generative Perspective. Oxford: Blackwell.

Jackendoff, Ray S. 1972. Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

—. 1990. Semantic Structures. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Johnson, David E. and Paul M. Postal. 1980. Arc Pair Grammar. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP.

Klammer, Thomas P., Muriel R. Schultz and Angela Della Volpe. (1992) 2010. Analyzing English Grammar. 6th edition. London: Longman / Pearson Education.

Koizumi, Masatoshi. 1994. “Nominative Objects: The Role of TP in Japanese.” In Formal Approaches to Japanese Linguistics 1, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 24, edited by Masatoshi Koizumi and Hiroyuki Ura, 211-230. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press

Larson, Richard K. 1988. “On the Double Object Construction.” Linguistic Inquiry 19 (3): 335-391.

—. 1990. “Double Objects Revisited: Reply to Jackendoff.” Linguistic Inquiry 21 (4): 589-632.

—. 2014. On Shell Structure. London: Routledge.

Machonis, Peter A. 1985. “Transformations of Verb Phrase Idioms: Passivization, Particle Movement, Dative Shift.” American Speech 60: 291-308.

MacWhinney, Brian. (1991) 2000. The CHILDES Project: Tools for Analyzing Talk. 3rd edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Marinis, Theodoros. 2007. “Online-Processing of Passives in L1 and L2 Children.” In Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA), edited by Alyona Belikova, Luisa Meroni and Mari Umeda, 265-276. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.

Messenger, Katherine, Holly P. Branigan, Janet F. McLean and Antonella Sorace. 2012. “Is Young Children’s Passive Syntax Semantically Constrained? Evidence from Syntactic Priming.” Journal of Memory and Language 39: 568-587.

Oehrle, Richard Thomas. 1976. “The Grammatical Status of the English Dative Alternation.” PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Pinker, Steven. 1984. Language Learnability and Language Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.

Pinker, Steven, David S. Lebeaux and Loren A. Frost. 1987. “Productivity and Constraints in the Acquisition of the Passive.” Cognition 26: 195-267.

Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik. 1985. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.

Radford, Andrew. 1990. Syntactic Theory and the Acquisition of English Syntax: The Nature of Early Child Grammars of English. Oxford: Blackwell.

Snyder, William and Karin Stromswold. 1997. “The Structure and Acquisition of English Dative Constructions.” Linguistic Inquiry 28: 281-317.

Stromswold, Karin. 2005. “Genetic Specifcity of Linguistic Heritability.” In Twenty- First Century Psycholinguistics: Four Cornerstones, edited by A. Cutler, 121-140. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Atlantis. Journal of the Spanish Association for Anglo-American Studies
ISSN: 0210-6124 | e-ISSN: 1989-6840. © Atlantis/Aedean 2013.
Contact | Privacy Statement | Copyright notice | Journal Help| Site Map