The Null Subject Phenomenon

  • Nina M. Hyams
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 3)


One of the most noticeable characteristics of early language is the frequent absence of lexical subjects. Sentences like those in (1) have been attested in every study of the early periods in the acquisition of English (McNeil, 1966; Gruber, 1967; Menyuk, 1969; Bloom, 1970; Braine, 1976, among others). The following (non-imperative) sentences, taken from Bloom (1970), are representative of the general phenomenon.


Relative Clause Subject Position Null Subject Tense Feature Tensed Sentence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina M. Hyams
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of LinguisticsUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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