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Title:Animacy and Child Grammar: an OT account
Authors:Heiner Drenhaus, Caroline Fery
Abstract: It is a well known fact about German that animacy plays a role in determining the word order of verbal arguments. In children�s production, animacy not only affects the order of the direct and indirect object in non-canonical double object constructions, but it also has an influence on the overt dative case marking of the indirect object. Optimality Theory readily accounts for these data in using well-assessed universal constraints, the same surface constraints as those responsible for the adult grammar. The only difference between the two lies in the constraint hierarchy, a natural conclusion if it is assumed that learning a language amounts to the acquisition of the hierarchy of universal constraints. In this paper, we focus on a pattern found in child grammar which is absent in the corresponding adult grammar, and show that one and the same grammar accounts for both.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Language Acquisition, Syntax
Article:Version 1