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Acquisition in Variation (and Vice Versa): V-to-T in Faroese Children

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    Rights statement: © Heycock, Caroline; Sorace, Antonella; Hansen, Zakaris; Wilson, Frances / Acquisition in Variation (and Vice Versa) : V-to-T in Faroese Children . In: Language Acquisition, Vol. 20, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 5-22.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage Acquisition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


Faroese is at the tail end of a change from an Icelandic-type syntax in which V-to-T is obligatory to a Danish-type system in which this movement is impossible. While the older word order is very rarely produced by adult Faroese speakers, there is evidence that this order is still marginally present in the adult grammar and thus only dispreferred, rather than completely ungrammatical. Here the results are presented of an experimental study of older Faroese children: 5-year-old children both accept and produce the older word order, 6-year-olds do so significantly less, and 10-year-olds behave like adult speakers. We discuss a number of possible interpretations of the children’s variability in the context of residual effects of diachronic change in Faroese.

    Research areas

  • syntax, acquisition, Faroese, verb-movement

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