The acquisition of long-distance binding in Serbo-Croatian.

The acquisition of long-distance binding in Serbo-Croatian.

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Title: The acquisition of long-distance binding in Serbo-Croatian.
Author: Kudra, Danijela.
Abstract: This study tested children's sensitivity to Wh-movement and Long Distance Binding in question formation. Serbo-Croatian offers two almost parallel strategies for making questions: Wh-movement, which is sensitive to islands, and Za $+$ Wh strategy, which requires Long-Distance Binding, irrespective of the presence of islands. The analysis proposed by Progovac (1992) treats Za $+$ Wh structures as a non-movement operation, presumably an instance of a language-specific application of Principle B of the Binding Theory. The possibility of creating minimal pairs of movement/non-movement questions has enabled us to test children's knowledge of both the Bounding and the Binding Theory. This study reports the results of two experiments, in which 42 child subjects (aged 4 to 6) and a control group of 8 adults, were tested. The children performed badly on Long-Distance binding structures, showing an overall preference for top clause responses, and a higher number of "other" responses in Za $+$ Wh questions. The children's performance on the Principle B experiment showed that Binding Theory is acquired by the age of four. This has ruled out the lack of knowledge of the Binding theory as a source of errors with Za $+$ Wh structures. Other possible causes for the children's insensitivity to the distinctions between Wh-movement and Long-Distance Binding are analyzed, and a follow-up study, with more "relaxed" conditions, is currently carried out.
Date: 1994
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/6751

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