Article omission across child languages

Maria Teresa Guasti, Anna Gavarró, Joke de Lange, Claudia Caprin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Article omission is known to be a feature of early grammar, although it does not affect all child languages to the same extent. In this article we analyze the production of articles by 12 children, 4 speakers of Catalan, 4 speakers of Italian, and 4 speakers of Dutch. We consider the results in the light of (i) the adult input the children are exposed to, (ii) the prosodic properties of articles in the three languages, and (iii) the properties of the syntax-semantics mapping of nouns in the languages under consideration. We show that the proportion of bare nouns (grammatical or ungrammatical) in the adult input does not bear any systematic relation to child production/omission of articles and that the full developmental pattern observed can be explained by appealing to the role of the nominal mapping parameter (NMP) in guiding acquisition, in conjunction with prosodic properties of articles and with discourse conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-119
JournalLanguage Acquisition
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2008


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