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Detail of contribution


Co-Auteur(s): Pilar LARRAŇAGA

Clitic drop in Basque Spanish: adult profiles and early acquisition

Abstract/Résumé: The variety of Spanish spoken in the Basque Country allows for clitic drop in referential contexts. Note that Basque has no clitics but allows null subjects and objects by virtue of the rich verb agreement (Hualde 2003; Oyharçabal 2003; Ortiz de Urbina 2003). Larrañaga & Guijarro-Fuentes (2012) show that clitic-drop is a very idiosyncratic issue in adult language and very much depends on the individual speaker. The two children exposed to this variety of Spanish and studied by Larrañaga & Guijarro-Fuentes are balanced bilinguals and converge with the target language at some point in development, namely at around the age of three. Interestingly, the rate of clitic drop in the later age correlates with the rate of clitic drop of the interlocutors, the father and the nanny respectively, from which the researchers may assume that adult interlocutors spend a considerable amount of time with the children. The objective of the present paper is to test (a) whether one unbalanced Basque-Spanish bilingual child (data studied from the age of around two to four years of age) whose MLU lies well behind the MLU of the bilingual children studied, shows the same path of acquisition and (b) determine in which stage the unbalanced bilingual attains target-like performance. Moreover, we aim to determine which linguistic factors constrain the use of clitics in the different adult performance profiles in order to tease apart child performances that are explainable by the input received, from those which could be attributable to cross-linguistic influence.