Children's early linguistic productions are typically characterized by the variable or null use of grammatical function items. These morphologically impoverished productions have frequently been interpreted as evidence for the rudimentary nature of early child grammars. Drawing on evidence from both English and Sesotho, this paper provides a sketch of a Metrical Model of Production that accounts for much of the reported omission and variability in children's early production of functional categories. The paper concludes that variable morphological' underspecification' is largely a reflection of children's incomplete productive capacities rather than a lack of grammatical competence.
|Title of host publication||Syntactic Theory and First Language Acquisition|
|Subtitle of host publication||Cross-Linguistic Perspectives|
|Editors||B. Lust., M. Suñer., J. Whitman.|
|Place of Publication||Hillsdale, N.J.|
|Publisher||Lawrence Erlbaum Associates|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 1994|
Demuth, K. (1994). On the 'underspecification' of functional categories in early grammars. In B. Lust., M. Suñer., & J. Whitman. (Eds.), Syntactic Theory and First Language Acquisition: Cross-Linguistic Perspectives (pp. 119-134). Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.