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Intensional Root Infinitives in Early Child Russian

By Arthur Stepanov

Abstract

Previous research on children's use of non-finite verb forms in finite contexts -- Root Infinitives (RIs) -- distinguished two types of the latter: those that describe an on-going activity ("extensional"), and those that are produced in the context of children's wishes, desires, or intentions ("intensional"). This study provides a syntactic account of children's intensional RIs. We argue that the aspects of the children's grammar involved in generating intensional RIs (e.g. Tense/Agr system) are completely adult-like. On the basis of a quasi-experimental study of the spontaneous speech corpus of the Russian child, Varvara (CHILDES, Protassova 1988, MacWhinney and Snow 1990), we show that the syntactic structure of an intensional RI is that of a complement of an intensional predicate like want in adult Russian. The intensional predicate itself undergoes PF deletion under identity with its linguistic antecedent, in accord with the theory of surface anaphora of Hankamer and Sag (1976). Th..

Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.32.7010
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