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date: 02 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A central question in the development of the clause is the gradually developing nature of tense marking. This phenomenon has been documented across a wide variety of languages and language typologies. That children’s clauses are syntactically, and not just morpho-phonologically, nonfinite is attested by the wide range of syntactic patterns that vary as a function of finiteness that children follow, including verb-second in Germanic, non-nominative case marking in English, negation-verb order in French. Finiteness also appears sensitive to lexical semantics, as argued in work on the Eventiveness Constraint. Multiple theoretical accounts of the phenomenon are discussed, including generative, usage-based and middle-ground explanations. Nonfinite verbal phenomena in null subject languages and the methodological approaches most appropriate for their study are discussed.

Keywords: root nonfinite verbs, root infinitive phenomenon, Optional Infinitive Stage, non-nominative case subjects, verb second, subject-auxiliary inversion, child language

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