In this article we describe the nature and sequence of acquisition of wh-questions by Catalan and/or Spanish speaking children. The framework assumes that linguistic structures are constructed gradually, progressing from specific to more abstract structures. Our corpus consists on longitudinal data from 10 children between 17 months and 3 years of age. The study focused on: the syntactic structure of each sentence, the errors produced, the wh-words, and the type of verbs used. The results show that children go through a first stage characterized by the formulaic or semi-formulaic nature of wh-questions, and only a few interrogative particles are used in very specific structures. Later, interrogatives appear with other wh-pronouns and other types of verbs, and no errors were found in their syntactic constructions. These results differ from previous studies carried out with English-speaking subjects. © 2001, Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
- Catalan and Spanish acquisition
- Interrogative sentences