On Child Subjects in a Partially Pro-Drop Language

Jeannette Schaeffer, Dorit Ben Shalom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this paper we investigate the production of (null) subjects in the spontaneous speech of 15 monolingual children between the ages of 1;09 and 3;01 acquiring Hebrew, a partially pro-drop language. Our results show that all children behave adultlike regarding the pro-drop part of Hebrew. Furthermore, Root Infinitives appear with underspecified subjects (most of them null), and the majority of the finite verbs requiring an overt subject occur correctly with a specified subject as predicted by Hoekstra & Hyams (1995): 67% for the younger children, and 96% for the older children. The 33% unexplained underspecified subjects with finite verbs in the youngest age group are accounted for by the lack of the pragmatic Concept of Non-Shared Assumptions (Schaeffer 1999).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Issues in Generative Hebrew Linguistics
EditorsSharon Armon-Lotem, Gabi Danon , Susan Rothstein
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)9789027289650
ISBN (Print)9789027255174
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Publication series

NameLinguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today
ISSN (Print)0166-0829


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