The problem of pseudoclefts in French
intersection configurations and intervention in language acquisition
Intervention effects have been explored in the domain of language acquisition, suggesting that feature similarity between a moved element and an intervening constituent determines the occurrence of processing difficulties. A graded differentiation scale hierarchizing the different possible relations between feature sets defining the moved and the intervening constituents was suggested: disjunction>intersection>inclusion>identity (Belletti, Friedmann, Brunato & Rizzi 2012; Durrleman & Bentea 2021). It is a well-known fact that young children, unlike adults, have difficulties dealing with inclusion relations. In this article, we compare the comprehension of standard clefts and pseudoclefts by French monolingual children and argue that object pseudoclefts in French give rise to an intersection configuration, which we claim to be at the origin of milder difficulties for children. The paper provides additional empirical evidence in favour of the feature-based intervention theory of locality.
Keywordsclefts, pseudoclefts, intervention, intersection, acquisition, French
Adani, Flavia, van der Lely, Heather K. J., Forgiarini, Matteo & Guasti, Maria Teresa.
Grammatical feature dissimilarities make relative clauses easier: A comprehension study with Italian children. Lingua 120(9). 2148–2166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2010.03.018
Aravind, Athulya, Hackl, Martin & Wexler, Kenneth. 2017. Syntactic and pragmatic factors in children’s cleft constructions. Language Acquisition 2(3). 284–314. https://doi.org/10.1080/10489223.2017.1316725
Baião, Vera. 2014. Aquisição de interrogativas preposicionadas em português europeu. Lisboa: Universidade Nova de Lisboa. (MA dissertation.)
Belletti, Adriana. 2012. Revisiting the CP of Clefts. In Zimmermann, Thomas E. & Grewendorf, Günther (eds.), Discourse and Grammar: From Sentence Types to Lexical Categories (Studies in generative Grammar 112), 91–114. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614511601.91
Belletti, Adriana. 2015. The focus map of clefts: extraposition and predication: In Shlonsky, Ur (ed.), Beyond Functional Sequence: The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, vol. 10, 42–59. New York: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210588.003.0003
Belletti, Adriana & Contemori, Carla. 2010. Intervention and attraction: On the production of Subject and Object Relatives by Italian (young) children and adults. In Costa, João, Castro, Ana, Lobo, Maria & Pratas, Fernanda (eds.), Language Acquisition and Development: Proceedings of GALA 2009, 39–52. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
Belletti, Adriana & Contemori Carla. 2012. Subjects in children's object relatives in Italian. Revue Roumaine de Linguistique 57. 117–142.
Belletti, Adriana, Friedmann, Naama, Brunato, Dominique & Rizzi, Luigi. 2012. Does gender make a difference? Comparing the effect of gender on children’s comprehension of relative clauses in Hebrew and Italian. Lingua 122. 1053–1069.
Bentea, Anamaria & Durrleman, Stephanie. 2017. Now You Hear It, Now You Don’t: Number Mismatch in the Comprehension of Relative Clauses in French. In La Mendola, Maria & Scott, Jennifer (eds.) Proceedings of the 41st annual Boston Conference on Language Development, 60–73. Somerville: Cascadilla Press.
Bentea, Anamaria. 2016. The comprehension of subject and direct object wh-questions in child Romanian. GG@G (Generative Grammar in Geneva) 9. 99–119.
Bentea Anamaria. 2017. Comprehension of wh-questions in child Romanian: A case about case and lexical restriction. In Choi, Jiyoung, Demirdache, Hamida, Lungu, Oana & Voeltzel, Laurence (eds.), Language Acquisition at the Interfaces: Proceedings of GALA 2015, 1–19. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholar Publishing.
Bentea, Anamaria, Durrleman, Stephanie & Rizzi, Luigi. 2016. Refining intervention: The acquisition of featural relations in object A-bar dependencies. Lingua 169. 21–41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2015.10.001
Bever, Thomas G. 1970. The cognitive basis for linguistic structures. In Hayes, John R. (ed.), Cognition and Language Development, 279–362. New York: John Wiley.
Cerejeira, Joana. 2009. Aquisição de interrogativas de sujeito e de objecto em português europeu. Lisboa: Universidade Nova de Lisboa. (MA dissertation.)
Contemori, Carla & Belletti, Adriana. 2014. Relatives and passive object relatives in Italian-speaking children and adults: intervention in production and comprehension. Applied Psycholinguistics 35. 1021–1053. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716412000689
Costa, João, Lobo, Maria & Silva, Carolina. 2011. Subject-object asymmetries in the acquisition of Portuguese relative clauses: adults vs. children. Lingua 121(6). 1083–1100.
Costa, João, Grillo, Nino & Lobo, Maria. 2012. Minimality beyond lexical restrictions: Processing and acquisition of free relatives in European Portuguese. Revue Roumaine de Linguistique LVII(2). 143–160.
Del Puppo, Giorgia Pivi, Margherita & Cardinaletti, Anna. 2015. Elicited production of cleft sentences in 6-10 year-old Italian-speaking children. In Hamann, Cornelia & Ruigendijk, Esther (eds.), Language Acquisition and Development: Proceedings of GALA 2013, 83–97. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Dick, Frederic, Wulfeck, Beverly, Krupa-Kwiatkowski, Magda & Bates, Elizabeth. 2004. The development of complex sentence interpretation in typically developing children compared with children with specific language impairments or early unilateral focal lesions. Developmental Science 7(3). 360–377.
Durrleman, Stephanie & Bentea, Anamaria. 2021. Locality in the acquisition of object A’-dependencies: insights from French. Glossa: a Journal of General Linguistics 6(1). 106. https://doi.org/10.16995/glossa.5876
Friedmann, Naama, Belletti, Adriana & Rizzi, Luigi. 2009. Relativized relatives: Types of intervention in the acquisition of A-bar dependencies. Lingua 119. 67–88.
Friedmann, Naama & Novogrodsky, Rama. 2011. Which questions are most difficult to understand? The comprehension of Wh questions in three subtypes of SLI. Lingua 12. 367–382. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2010.10.004
Grillo, Nino. 2008. Generalized minimality. Utrecht: Utrecht University. (Doctoral dissertation.)
Hamann, Cornelia & Tuller, Laurie. 2014. Genuine versus superficial relatives in French: The depth of embedding factor. Rivista di Grammatica Generativa 36. 146–181.
Hamann, Cornelia & Tuller, Laurie. 2015. Intervention effects in the spontaneous production of relative clauses in (a)typical language development of French children and adolescents. In Di Domenico, Elisa, Hamann, C. & Matteini, Simona (eds.), Structures, Strategies and Beyond: Studies in honour of Adriana Belletti, 321–342. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hupet, Michel & Tilmant, Brigitte. 1989. How to make young children produce cleft sentences. Journal of Child Language 16. 251–261.
Kayne, Richard. 1975. French Syntax. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
Lempert, Henrietta & Kinsbourne, Marcel. 1978. Children’s comprehension of word order: a developmental investigation. Child Development 49. 1235–1238.
Lobo, Maria, Santos, Ana Lúcia & Soares-Jesel, Carla. 2016. Syntactic structure and information structure: the acquisition of Portuguese clefts and be-fragments. Language Acquisition 23(2). 142–174. https://doi.org/10.1080/10489223.2015.1067317
Lobo, Maria, Santos, Ana Lúcia, Soares-Jesel, Carla & Vaz, Stéphanie. 2019. Effects of syntactic structure on the comprehension of clefts. Glossa: a Journal of General Linguistics 4(1). 74. http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.645
Martins, Alexandrina (2022). Complexidade sintática em PDL e PEA. Lisboa: Universidade de Lisboa. (Doctoral dissertation.)
Pesetsky, David. 1982. Paths and Categories. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
Rizzi, Luigi. 1982. Issues in Italian Syntax. Dordrecht: Foris Publications Holland.
Rizzi, Luigi. 1990. Relativized Minimality. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
Rizzi, Luigi. 2004. Locality and the left periphery. In Belletti, Adriana (ed.), Structures and Beyond: The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, vol. 3, 223–251. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rizzi, Luizi. 2018. Intervention effects in grammar and language acquisition. Probus 30(2). 339–367.
Roubaud, Marie-Noëlle. 2000. Les constructions pseudo-clivées en français contemporain. Paris: Champion.
Soares-Jesel, Carla & Lobo, Maria. 2019. The acquisition of clefts: syntax and information structure. (Paper presented at the International Workshop on the L1 and L2 acquisition of information structure, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 25–26 April 2019.)
Villata, Sandra, Rizzi, Luigi & Franck, Julie. 2016. Intervention effects and relativized minimality: New experimental evidence from graded judgments, Lingua 179. 76–96. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2016.03.004
Copyright (c) 2022 Carla Soares-Jesel, Maria Lobo, Ana Lucia Santos
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.