A comparison of Norwegian and Spanish L1 acquisition of possessive constructions
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics. 2019, 22 10.1007/s10828-019-09106-9
In language acquisition studies, there is a recurring debate regarding how to account for non-target-consistent utterances produced by young children. Anderssen and Westergaard (Lingua 120:2569–2588, 2010) study the acquisition of Norwegian possessives, which may be pre- or postnominal, and find that children overuse prenominal possessives, even though they are considerably less frequent than postnominal ones in the input. The current study investigates Spanish possessive structures, which may also appear with two word orders, and finds that postnominal possessives are occasionally overused by young children, even though they are extremely low in frequency (3%). In this article, we discuss two possible explanations for the non-target-consistent behavior of Norwegian and Spanish children, related to economy of syntactic movement and the nature of the possessives themselves in terms of strong/weak pronouns or clitics.