The acquisition of Chinese relative clauses: Contrasting two theoretical approaches

Shenai Hu, Anna Gavarró, Mirta Vernice, Maria Teresa Guasti

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23 Citations (Scopus)


© Cambridge University Press 2015. This study examines the comprehension of relative clauses by Chinese-speaking children, and evaluates the validity of the predictions of the Dependency Locality Theory (Gibson, 1998, 2000) and the Relativized Minimality approach (Friedmann, Belletti & Rizzi, 2009). One hundred and twenty children from three to eight years of age were tested by using a character-sentence matching task. We found a preference for subject relative clauses that persists as children grow older. This preference is predicted by the Relativized Minimality approach, but not by the Dependency Locality Theory. In addition, we observed a fine-grained class of errors in comprehension. We discuss it in the light of the head-final status of Chinese relative clauses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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