The Acquisition of Agreement Morphology and its Syntactic Consequences: New Evidence on German Child Language from the Simone-Corpus

  • Harald Clahsen
  • Martina Penke
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 16)


The general background for our study is the hypothesis of Lexical Learning, i.e., the question in what ways the emergence of syntactic structure in child language is determined through the acquisition of properties of lexical (and morphological) items. In the Universal Grammar (UG) framework it has recently been argued that parameters of UG should only refer to categories of lexical items or to properties of lexical items, for example canonical government. Rizzi (1989) proposed, for example, that only heads (=X°) or properties of heads may enter into a UG parameter. Chomsky (1989), based on previous work by Borer (1984), explored the possibility of allowing only functional categories to be parameterized. These attempts to constrain the class of UG parameters have lead to the hypothesis that in child language development the syntax of a particular language could be determined by the acquisition of lexical and/or functional categories (X°).


Embed Clause Child Language Grammatical Development Verbal Element Null Subject 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harald Clahsen
  • Martina Penke

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