Acquisition of Pronominal Clitics in Romanian

Maria Babyonyshev, Stefania Marin


This paper uses new evidence from elicited production experiments to establish that Romanian children do not omit either direct or indirect object clitics at a significant rate. The results reported for the acquisition of indirect object clitics are particularly significant in that, for the first time, it is possible to demonstrate the similarity between the acquisition of direct and indirect object clitics in Romanian and, arguably, for other languages that pattern with Romanian in the relevant respects. Furthermore, our findings receive a natural explanation if it is assumed that two conditions must be met for children to produce clitics. First, children’s grammars must not be constrained by any relevant grammatical constraints, such as the Unique Checking Constraint (Wexler 1998, 2003). Second, children must be able to produce utterances of the length required by the clitic constructions. (137words)


first language acquisition, Romance languages, Romanian, accusative clitics, dative clitics, cross-linguistic variation

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Copyright (c) 2006 Maria Babyonyshev, Stefania Marin