How children's relatives solve a problem for minimalism

Dana Mcdaniel, Cecile M Mckee, Judy B. Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Current work in syntax reexamines basic properties of movement. Under the minimalist assumptions of Chomsky (1995), movement is prohibited unless forced by grammatical considerations. From a set of comparable derivations, the one involving the least amount of moved material should therefore block other derivations. Within this framework, any cases of optional movement are problematic. We addressed this issue with experiments on stranding and pied-piping in relative clauses in 115 English learners, aged 3;5 to 11;11, and an adult control group. All subjects participated in an elicited production experiment and a grammaticality judgment experiment. Our findings suggest that pied-piping is possible in young children's grammars only when stranding is ruled out, as predicted by minimalism. We claim the children's responses represent the 'natural' grammar while the adults' responses reflect a prescriptive artifact. We also found a discrepancy in all subject groups between production and judgments of the genitive pied-piping construction. We account for this finding with Kayne's (1994) analysis of relative clauses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-334
Number of pages27
JournalLanguage
Volume74
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1998

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grammar
experiment
syntax
artifact
Group
Experiment
Pied-piping
Minimalism
Relative Clauses
Grammar
Syntax
Genitive
Control Group
Noam Chomsky
Grammaticality Judgments
Young children
Artifact
English Learners
Prescriptive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics

Cite this

Mcdaniel, D., Mckee, C. M., & Bernstein, J. B. (1998). How children's relatives solve a problem for minimalism. Language, 74(2), 308-334.

How children's relatives solve a problem for minimalism. / Mcdaniel, Dana; Mckee, Cecile M; Bernstein, Judy B.

In: Language, Vol. 74, No. 2, 06.1998, p. 308-334.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mcdaniel, D, Mckee, CM & Bernstein, JB 1998, 'How children's relatives solve a problem for minimalism', Language, vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 308-334.
Mcdaniel D, Mckee CM, Bernstein JB. How children's relatives solve a problem for minimalism. Language. 1998 Jun;74(2):308-334.
Mcdaniel, Dana ; Mckee, Cecile M ; Bernstein, Judy B. / How children's relatives solve a problem for minimalism. In: Language. 1998 ; Vol. 74, No. 2. pp. 308-334.
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