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Adult and child production of Quechua relative clauses
First Language (2006)
  • Ellen H Courtney

This study investigates the production of Quechua relative clauses by Peruvian adults and children, aged 2;8-4;7. Quechua relative clauses may be internally-headed, externally-headed, or headless. Previous studies (e.g., O’Grady, 2003), suggested two outcomes: children will have less difficulty producing subject-gap relative clauses than other types; and, compared to adults, children will produce more headed relatives, especially internally-headed relative clauses. A procedure was used to elicit production of two relative clauses for each of four types: subject-gap, direct object-gap, non-direct object-gap, possessor-gap. Participants produced all types with equal ease, although children produced more errors; children produced comparatively more headless relatives, and their headed relative clauses were overwhelmingly externally-headed. This outcome is attributed to children’s learning [modifier+noun] constructions resembling headless and externally-headed relative clauses.

  • Quechua,
  • first language acquisition,
  • relative clauses
Publication Date
August, 2006
Publisher Statement
The definitive version of this article was published in First Language (26, 3), August 2006,
Citation Information
Ellen H Courtney. "Adult and child production of Quechua relative clauses" First Language Vol. 26 Iss. 3 (2006)
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