Temporal reference of bare verbs in Mandarin child language
|Institusjon||National Tsing Hua University|
|Utgiver||Tapir Akademisk Forlag|
|Adresse utgiver||Nardoveien 12, 7005 Trondheim|
AbstraktThis paper reports preliminary findings of an investigation into bare verbs in
Mandarin child language. This topic is interesting in the context of recent research
into the occurrence of non-finite forms in children\'s utterances around the ages
of two to three years, including the use of bare verbs lacking tense and agreement
markers in children acquiring English, the “root infinitive” phenomenon
in languages like Dutch, German, French or Swedish, the use of bare perfective
forms in Greek, and so on. Unlike these languages, adult Mandarin lacks tense
and agreement, and it is controversial whether Mandarin has the finite vs. nonfinite
clause distinction. Furthermore, sentences with bare verbs are grammatical
in adult Mandarin. The question arises whether and to what extent Mandarinacquiring
children aged between 2 and 3 pass through a stage corresponding to
the “root infinitive” stage, and what properties sentences with bare verbs have in
Section 2 reviews previous research into the phenomenon of bare or nonfinite
verbs in children’s production in English and other languages, leading up to
Hyams’ (2006) proposal that the interpretation of non-finite clauses is determined
by aspectual properties. Section 3 then presents the aims, methods and preliminary
results of our investigation of Mandarin child language.
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