A CROSSLINGUISTIC STUDY ON THE ACQUISITION OF SUBJECT AGREEMENT IN CROATIAN AND YUKATEK
The aim of this study was to apply a comparative method to the analysis of the acquisition of subject person marking in two typological different languages, Croatian and Yucatec Maya. Since no equivalent target entities have been identified in these languages, the comparison is based on surface features of person verb marking, such as suffixation and periphrasis. We focus on how subject participants emerge in children’s speech. Longitudinal data from child language corpora of both languages were chosen in order to test several factors which could influence the development of person verb marking: position, alignment and the pro-drop parameter. Position has been shown to play the crucial role in the acquisition of person marking in this research since suffixation was identified as the most important factor for early person marking in both languages. In Croatian and Yukatek children use the verb inflection in the obligatory context and also for different persons from early age on. The acquisition of person marking in periphrastic constructions turned out to be quite different in these languages. We compared the use of the Croatian auxiliary in verbs in perfect tense with the use of the auxiliary and the ergative marking of the Yukatek verb complex.
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