Children's production of relative clauses in Palestinian Arabic: Unique errors and their movement account

Irena Botwinik, Reem Bshara, Sharon Armon-Lotem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study tests empirically several hypotheses formulated for the learning trajectory of Palestinian Arabic relative clauses and the errors the process might involve. Findings from elicited production of children acquiring Palestinian Arabic relative clauses show that like in other languages, subject relatives are acquired first, and that among the non-subject relatives a certain gradation obtains with the prepositional relatives being acquired later than the non-prepositional ones. As to the errors attested in the process, the findings confirm that in addition to the familiar resumptive DP error (DP doubling), acquisition of these structures in Palestinian Arabic involves a couple of errors which, to our knowledge, have never been documented in the acquisition of relative clauses across languages. We argue that these errors, referred to as "subject fronting" and "complementizer doubling", are due to the nature of the adult derivation of relative clauses in the language as viewed by Aoun and Choueiri (1996), rather than by Shlonsky (1992), and propose a concrete account thereof. Finally, we account for the resumptive DP error across languages, including Palestinian Arabic, using the 'matching analysis' of Sauerland (1998, 2002).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-56
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Language acquisition
  • Matching analysis
  • Movement account
  • Palestinian Arabic
  • Relative clauses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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