The Role of Performance Limitations in the Acquisition of “Mixed” Verbargument Structure at Stage I

  • Anna L. Theakston
  • Elena V. M. Lieven
  • Julian M. Pine
  • Caroline F. Rowland


It is widely accepted that children do not produce adult-like utterances from the very beginning of productive speech. For example, children learning English have a tendency to omit subjects where they are grammatically required and initially use fewer inflected forms of verbs and nouns and fewer auxiliaries than their adult models. Thus, nativist theories of language development typically rely to some extent on the notion of performance limitations to explain the primitive appearance of early child speech whilst claiming that children operate with a complex and abstract grammar.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna L. Theakston
    • 1
  • Elena V. M. Lieven
    • 2
  • Julian M. Pine
    • 3
  • Caroline F. Rowland
    • 4
  1. 1.University of ManchesterGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology LeipzigGermany
  3. 3.University of NottinghamGermany
  4. 4.University of DerbyGermany

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