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Direct Objects and Language Acquisition

$88.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in Linguistics

  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108514590

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  • Direct object omission is a general occurrence, observed in varying degrees across the world's languages. The expression of verbal transitivity in small children begins with the regular use of verbs without their object, even where object omissions are illicit in the ambient language. Grounded in generative grammar and learnability theory, this book presents a comprehensive view of experimental approaches to object acquisition, and is the first to examine how children rely on the lexical, structural and pragmatic components to unravel the system. The results presented lead to the hypothesis that missing objects in child language should not be seen as a deficit but as a continuous process of knowledge integration. The book argues for a new model of how this aspect of grammar is innately represented from birth. Ideal reading for advanced students and researchers in language acquisition and syntactic theory, the book's opening and closing chapters are also suitable for non-specialist readers.

    • A new analysis of object omission across languages, making concrete predictions that can be further tested
    • Brings together lexical, syntactic and pragmatic consideration to the acquisition of direct objects
    • Includes ideal pedagogical material for courses at various levels
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is an admirable example of how a sophisticated analysis of a narrowly defined and partly even invisible phenomenon can reveal deep insights into language acquisition, with wide-ranging consequences for syntactic theory. As such, it is also a demonstration of how acquisition research can inform grammatical theory. Beautifully written, this book is therefore highly recommended to a readership not only interested in language acquisition but also in syntactic theory.' Jürgen Meisel, University of Hamburg

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108514590
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Missing objects in child language
    2. From the missing to the invisible
    3. Rome leads to all roads
    4. Interpreting the missing object
    5. How unusual is your object?
    6. Conclusion.

  • Authors

    Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux, University of Toronto
    Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux is Professor of Spanish and Linguistics, and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at the University of Toronto. Her research seeks to understand how children learn the syntax and semantics of the smallest and silent components of sentence grammar, including determiners, prepositions, number, tense, mood and aspect, null objects and subjects, and how grammatical complexity develops from these components.

    Mihaela Pirvulescu, University of Toronto
    Mihaela Pirvulescu is Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Language Studies, University of Toronto. Her research looks at the morpho-syntactic expression and acquisition of verbal argument structure, and how bilingualism and multilingualism impacts the course of language acquisition.

    Yves Roberge, University of Toronto
    Yves Roberge is Principal of New College and Professor of Linguistics in the French Department at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the syntax and semantics of French and other Romance languages, especially Canadian French, as well as dialectal variation, first language acquisition, and the syntax-morphology interface.

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