Some Comparative Data

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


In the previous chapter, we examined the effects of the AG/PRO parameter on the early grammar of English. We saw that these effects appear quite early in the acquisition process and hence it was suggested that the value AG = PRO represents the “initial” setting for this parameter; that is, the value specified in advance of experience with a particular language. Given that children do not come “prewired” to acquire one language rather than another (i.e., the initial settings are invariant across children), we except that the language of non-English speaking children will exhibit the essential properties we have discussed, for example, subjectless sentences. Just as theories of UG may be empirically verified or falsified by investigating the grammars of different languages, so hypotheses concerning the initial parameter settings may be tested against the developing grammars of other languages. Thus, the purpose of this chapter is to consider the early grammars of children acquiring languages other than English. In particular, we will look at the acquisition of Italian, a pro-drop language, and German, a non-pro-drop language, focussing in on those aspects of the acquisition data which are relevant to the analysis proposed in the previous chapters.1 We begin with Italian in Section 2 and then turn to German in Section 3.


Word Order Embed Clause Complex Sentence Italian Child Null Subject 
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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