Preface



This book is an extensive revision of my doctoral dissertation, submitted to the University of Essex in 1999. While the arguments presented herein are identical to those of the dissertation-namely, arguments which lend themselves to more traditional theories concerning the nature of language development-many of the findings could be recast to contribute to the series of debates now being waged regarding the 'Dual Mechanism Model' (see Clahsen 1999, Pinker 1999 for a review). For instance, attested disparities and development/chronological onsets between the morphological processing of (rote-learned) irregular versus (rule-based) regular verbs (evidenced in so-called 'u-shaped learning') may likewise spill over and reflect the protracted development of more formal computational processes related to the emergence of functional categories (particularly the development of IP). Generally speaking, I believe the findings presented in this book add considerable support to the idea that children may indeed begin their very early stages of syntactic development much in the same way as they begin their phonological development-that is, initially, by primitive and robust means of establishing some type of first order associations linking 'form' to 'meaning', whether it be regarding, for example (i) the treatment of syllabic whole chunks that the child processes in early word production/recognition (postponing a phonetic based segmental process to a second stage of development), or, as this study shows, (ii) the treatment of non-syntactic processing where formulaic chunks and or lexical redundancy rules are the order of the day (and likewise postponing a 'pure' rule-based syntactic process to a second stage of development).

      This study argues in favor of an initial Pre-Functional stage in the acquisition of English syntax that arises as a result of the protracted 'maturational-scheduling' of the functional category IP. This initial stage comes to be described as a Non-INFLectional Stage-1 during which subject-agreement and possessor-agreement go unmarked (inter alia). Following Radford and Galasso (1998), the data presented in this book point to an interesting and previously unreported symmetry between the general development of inflective properties: namely, 'Subject+Verb' constructions on the one hand and 'Possessive+Noun' constructions on the other. Both constructions show symmetric-chronological developments of inflectional markings for 3Present/Sg/ {+s} and Possessive {'s} (respectively). Such data could be interpreted as buttressing further support for a 'Dual Mechanism Model' regarding the development of a formal 'rule-based' grammar.

      Following the initial stages throughout several files, a qualitative shift in grammatical competence emerges marking what I shall term an Optional INFL Stage-2.

      (VP) In §§3 and 4 I present an account of early word order and negation. In an attempt to derive Kayne's universal Spec-Head-Comp ordering from his LCA, I argue for a primitive principle of X-bar theory that stipulates that heads must be base-generated within a medial position. From this, I am able to 'weaken' Kayne's LCA to include not only SVO, but likewise mirror OVS word orders to accommodate the acquisition data.

      (IP) In §5 I present empirical evidence showing a clear Non-INFLectional Stage-1. The protracted emergence of INFL-related material is argued to give not only credence to a maturational-based model of language acquisition (cf., Radford 1990), but also to hold a number of implications for determining a viable Checking Theory account of the code-switching data (§7).

      (CP) In §6 I present two distinct accounts of initial CompVS Wh-Questions found at Stage-1: (i) a base-generated VP account (=OVS) and (ii) a CP>VP account.