Language Acquisition and Syntactic Theory

A Comparative Analysis of French and English Child Grammars

  • Authors
  • Amy E. Pierce

Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 14)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Amy E. Pierce
    Pages 19-50
  3. Amy E. Pierce
    Pages 51-68
  4. Amy E. Pierce
    Pages 69-88
  5. Amy E. Pierce
    Pages 89-106
  6. Amy E. Pierce
    Pages 107-123
  7. Amy E. Pierce
    Pages 125-139
  8. Amy E. Pierce
    Pages 141-151
  9. Amy E. Pierce
    Pages 153-155
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 157-175

About this book


The theory of language acquisition is a young but increasingly active field. Language Acquisition and Syntactic Theory presents one of the first detailed studies of comparative syntax acquisition. It is informed by the view that linguists and acquisitionists are essentially working on the same problem, that of explaining grammar learnability.
The author takes cross-linguistic data from child language as evidence for recent proposals in syntactic theory. Developments in the structure of children's sentences during the first few years of life are traced to changes in the setting of specific grammatical parameters. Some surprising differences between the early child grammars of French and English are uncovered, differences that can only be explained on the basis of subtle distinctions in inflectional structure. This motivates the author's claim that functional or nonthematic categories are represented in the grammars of very young children. The book also explores the relationship between acquisition and diachronic change in French and English. It is argued that findings in acquisition, when viewed from a parameter setting perspective, provide answers to important questions arising in the study of language change.
The book promises to be of interest to all those involved in the formal, psychological or historical study of linguistic knowledge.


Affix Index Negation Sprachentwicklungsstörungen Syntax comparative grammar language acquisition pronominal subject syntactic

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1992
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-0-7923-1553-7
  • Online ISBN 978-94-011-2574-1
  • Series Print ISSN 1873-0043
  • Buy this book on publisher's site