A special case of wh-extraction in child language

B. Hollebrandse*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Young children extract from direct speech even when the pronoun reference indicates a direct speech act: How did Deanne ask: "Can I ride a bike?" is answered with a manner of bike-riding, while the pronoun refers to main clause subject. Adults do not allow this extraction due to a blocking effect of a Point of View operator, regulating differences in perspective between direct and indirect speech. A study with 68 American children between the ages of 3:0 to 7:8 combines two conditions: long-distance versus short-distance movement and reference of the pronoun in the direct speech part. The results are that 3 and 4 year olds show long-distance movement (a manner of bike-riding) regardless of the pronoun reference. The 5 and 6 year olds, however, extract out of the direct speech part under a main clause subject reference. This means that they take the Can I ride a bike part as a direct speech act, but at the same time are able, contrary to adults, to extract out of them. These results show that the tight relation, in adult English, between different Point of Views and syntactic domains is not established for young children. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1897-1906
    Number of pages10
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov-2007
    EventConference on Languaage Acquisition between Sentence and Discourse - , Netherlands
    Duration: 1-May-2005 → …


    • first language acquisition
    • direct speech
    • point of view
    • wh-islands

    Cite this