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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Acquisition of the passive voice has been studied since the sixties; these earlier results have provided evidence for difficulties in both comprehension and production at 4–5 years of age with differences depending on the shape of sentences and the type of verbs involved. This led to an interpretation expressed in the A-chain deficit hypothesis, whereby children are challenged by movement of the internal argument to the subject position. More recent studies, using new techniques and new insights, have shown an earlier mastery of some passives (age 3), have narrowed down the scope of difficulties focusing more thoroughly on specific sources of challenge and this has promoted new interpretative hypotheses.

Keywords: A-chain, middle voice, unaccusative, adjectival and verbal passive, Smuggling, syntactic priming

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