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LINGUIST List 21.1405

Tue Mar 23 2010

Diss: Lang Acq: Kapia: 'The Role of Syntax and Pragmatics in the...'

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        1.    Enkeleida Kapia, The Role of Syntax and Pragmatics in the Structure and Acquisition of Clitic Doubling in Albanian

Message 1: The Role of Syntax and Pragmatics in the Structure and Acquisition of Clitic Doubling in Albanian
Date: 22-Mar-2010
From: Enkeleida Kapia <ekapiabu.edu>
Subject: The Role of Syntax and Pragmatics in the Structure and Acquisition of Clitic Doubling in Albanian
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Institution: Boston University
Program: Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Enkeleida Kapia

Dissertation Title: The Role of Syntax and Pragmatics in the Structure and Acquisition of Clitic Doubling in Albanian

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Dissertation Director:
Paul A Hagstrom
Shanley Allen
Cathy O'Connor
Peter Alrenga
Lydia White

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates clitic doubling of both dative and
accusative objects in adult and child language. It reports on three
experimental studies designed to discover the specific distributional
properties of this phenomenon, with particular attention to the effect of
'rheme' and 'kontrast,' two distinct concepts often collapsed as

Study I investigates the patterns of clitic doubling through
grammaticality judgment data from adults. Findings show that clitic
doubling of dative objects is obligatory, while clitic doubling of
accusative objects is governed by pragmatic factors. If the object is
topical, clitic doubling is obligatory. If the object is rhematic and/or
kontrastive, clitic doubling is prohibited. In addition, results suggest that
clitic doubling of accusative objects is not differentially affected by
rheme and kontrast. Study II answers the same research questions as
Study I in elicited production data and serves as a baseline for Study III.
Results from Study II confirm those of Study I. Study III investigates clitic
doubling of both objects with children 2;0-4;0 years in elicited
production data. Generalized Estimating Equation models show that
children produce clitic doubling of dative objects at adult-like rates from
age 2;0. However, they do not reach adult-like performance with
accusative objects even by age 4;0. Children double topical accusative
objects as adults do, but they insert a clitic about 20% of the time with
rhematic/kontrastive accusative objects, which adults never do. This
reveals either an underdeveloped pragmatic system in children or an
underdeveloped syntax-pragmatics interface: either children take more
referents to be given/old than adults do or the interface between
syntax and pragmatics fails to accurately read the signals from the
pragmatic system. The results presented here expand the literature of
clitic doubling with data from dative clitics and offer support for the
modular nature of language with syntax present from age 2;0 and
pragmatics or the interface between pragmatics and syntax not fully
matured until after age 4;0.

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