Automatically assigned DDC number:

Manually assigned DDC number: 410285

Number of references: 0

Title: Brad Waller Language Acquisition Professor Kenneth Wexler May 14, 1997


Subject: Brad Waller Brad Waller Language Acquisition Professor Kenneth Wexler May 14, 1997

Description: This paper is concerned with why children produce sentences without subjects, like those in (1) (from Hyams and Wexler (1993)): (1) Shake hands. Turn light off. Want go get it. Show Mommy that. Not making muffins. Traditional accounts for this particular observation about child language have ranged across a wide spectrum, encompassing everything from hypotheses about the various possible distinctions between child and adult grammars (Hyams 1983, 1986, 1989, Hyams and Wexler 1993, Rizzi 1992, 1994, and many others), to accounts invoking computational load in processing (Valian 1989), to accounts in which pragmatic processes license the omission of otherwise obligatory subjects (Bates 1976, Greenfield and Smith 1976, and others). P. Bloom (1989) makes an argument that subjects are dropped because of processing considerations that cause children to expand sentences rightward while sacrificing the leftward (i.e., subject) elements. I will discuss these various proposals briefly in section 1, and then turn my attention to another account, presented in Gerken (1991), in which it is argued that subject drop is the result of a quasi-phonological process whereby syllables in weak metrical positions are allowed to go unpronounced. This will be the focus of section 2. While there has been argumentation for both sides of each of the non-metrical accounts, the metrical account has remained, to my knowledge, unchallenged. Since I believe it suffers from severe over-simplification, I shall attempt to 3

Contributor: The Pennsylvania State University CiteSeer Archives

Publisher: unknown

Date: 1997-05-15

Pubyear: unknown

Format: ps



Language: en

Rights: unrestricted


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