Advanced Search

The acquisition of raising

Research and Teaching Output of the MIT Community

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Kenneth N. Wexler. en_US Hirsch, Christopher K en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. en_US 2011-05-09T15:24:36Z 2011-05-09T15:24:36Z 2011 en_US 2011 en_US
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, 2011. en_US
dc.description Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 399-407). en_US
dc.description.abstract This work serves as the first comprehensive investigation into typically developing children's acquisition of subject-to-subject (StS) raising. In particular, it asks how English-speaking children come to comprehend a StS raised sentence like (1) versus its semantically equivalent unraised counterpart (2), and how the presence of an experiencer-phrase affects interpretation (3): (1) John[subscript i] seems [t[subscript i] to be dancing]. (2) It seems that John is dancing. (3) John[subscript i] seems to Mary [t[subscript i] to be dancing]. The acquisition of StS raising is of particular bearing given renewed interest in the acquisition of verbal passives, which share syntactic traits with StS raising and which have been argued to develop late under genetic guidance. Using sentence-picture matching and truth-value judgment experiments, the following comprehension results obtain: e Unraised sentences are acquired early, with most three-year-old children demonstrating mastery. - Sentences involving StS raising over an experiencer (ROE) are delayed until around age seven, with many children incorrectly interpreting them as involving raising-to-object (RtO) syntax. e Sentences involving StS raising with no experiencer (RNE) are likewise delayed until around age seven, with many children incorrectly interpreting them as involving either subject control or copular syntax. - Subject control sentences are acquired early, by at least age three. - The delayed acquisition of StS raising (ROE and RNE) appears to be developmentally linked with the delayed acquisition of verbal passives. The noted delay in comprehension of StS raising occurs despite the fact that StS raising sentences are found to be relatively common in child-directed speech. These data serve to rule out several grammatical acquisition accounts in the literature that have attempted to capture children's delayed comprehension of verbal passives (e.g. External Argument Requirement Hypothesis, Canonical Alignment Hypothesis, and Universal Freezing Hypothesis). The data, however, are both compatible with and predicted by the Universal Phase Requirement (UPR; Wexler, 2004), a grammatical account on which children are claimed to take all vPs to define strong phases for maturational reasons. Only UPR correctly predicts delay for StS raising (with and without an experiencer-phrase) in early child grammar, and a positive correlation with the acquisition of verbal passives. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Christopher K. Hirsch. en_US
dc.format.extent 408 p. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Brain and Cognitive Sciences. en_US
dc.title The acquisition of raising en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 715378663 en_US

Files in this item

Name Size Format Description
715378663-MIT.pdf 30.63Mb PDF Full printable version

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record