GRS LX 700
Language
Acquisition and
Linguistic Theory
Week 11.
Maturation, passives, A-chains
and phases
Continuity or Maturation?


Pretty well accepted that there is
something “built-in” concerning the
acquisition of language (UG).
A limiting version of this is the
Continuity Hypothesis (Pinker 1984)
(or Rigidity) which says that what’s
built in is there from the beginning
and doesn’t change.
The situation


Quite a bit of evidence shows that kids
know a lot about the principles of UG
from as early as they can be tested.
Yet, languages do differ from one
another—kids end up speaking different
languages depending on the language
in the environment, so they do learn
something.
The situation

So there are in principle two dimensions
of development:



learning language-particular properties
development of the grammar itself
Grammar development is what has been
argued (poverty of the stimulus) not to be
learnable by experience. Thus, it must be
in some way genetically provided.
The situation


Being genetically specified does not
mean “present from the outset” however.
Ample evidence from other biological
systems of this.
Pretty much the only conclusion available
to deal with time delay of innately
specified aspects of grammar is that parts
of the grammar matures.
What if we don’t like maturation
as an explanation?

Two options:
Grammar doesn’t mature in a biological
sense; it is learned. But we don’t believe
that, because we have good reasons to
think that it’s just not possible.
 Grammar doesn’t mature in a biological
sense; it is there from the outset in its
totality. (“Continuity”, “Rigidity”)


Neither option seems very good.
Rigidity is hard to justify



Kids don’t seem to have identical linguistic
properties as adults. How can we explain
this without some difference in the system?
Why do kids take so long to reach adult-like
competence? If the data is available, why
don’t kids use it immediately? If the learning
mechanism changes, how does it change?
How far back does Rigidity go? One would
suspect that “fertilization of the egg” is too
far…
The way things seem to be


We have evidence that kids do know quite
a bit of what we posit to be in UG and very
early, often as early as we can test it.
We have evidence that in certain areas
kids’ grammars differ from adults. We also
have in some of these cases evidence that
the differences seem to go away around
the same age across kids (& across
languages).
It becomes interesting to
know…



What are the principles that kids know as
early as we can test?
What are the principles that are delayed,
and until when are they delayed?
Wexler (1997) suggests the terminology
Continuous Development for this model (vs.
Rigidity). (so, *tadpole  frog)
Is maturation a cop-out?


If a kid doesn’t behave according to
Principle X of UG, we say that kid’s grammar
needs to mature until it gets Principle X.
Can’t we just say that about anything? Can
we ever show that “it just matures” is false?
Actually, yes—if it matures, if it is on a
biological schedule, then it can’t really differ
from language to language (at least to any
greater extent than, say, malnutrition can
delay puberty).
How different is a kid’s
grammar?


In principle, it could be quite different.
Tadpoles do become frogs in the real,
biological world.
But it seems like what kids have is
pretty close to what adults have,
based on empirical studies—leading to
the hypothesis that there is a close
connection between kids grammars
and adult grammars…
UG-constrained maturation


Borer & Wexler (1992) introduced the
hypothesis as UG-Constrained Maturation,
which says that all child grammatical
representations are representations that are
available in UG.
In other words, a kid’s syntactic tree is one
that could exist in some adult language
without violating principles of UG.
UG-constrained maturation

This hypothesis only allows for certain
kinds of “kid deficits”—a kid grammar
can rule out a structure, which an
adult (speaking some adult language)
would consider grammatical, but it
cannot allow a structure that no adult
language would make grammatical.
Optional infinitives



Young, young kids show evidence of
knowing how to inflect, move verbs, etc.
They know the parameter settings for their
language, even. Kids know a lot.
But—kid allows nonfinite forms in contexts
that adult requires finite forms in.
How does this fit in to UGCM?
Optional infinitives



Take the Wexler (1998) view that kids don’t
know that D is interpretable. This can be
seen as another kind of “coordination”
issue—coordinating the syntactic system
and the interpretation system.
As long as the syntactic system doesn’t
require T or Agr, this fits in with UGCM.
That is, we take “Have T” and “Have Agr” as
being principles outside the syntax—maybe
tied to discourse.
Passives




John kicked the ball (active)
The ball was kicked (by John) (passive)
Standard analysis: the ball starts off as
complement of V in both; in the passive, the
agent is suppressed and the verb is
deprived of its ability to assign Case. Thus,
the ball moves into SpecIP (SpecAgrSP) to
get Case.
The balli was kicked ti.
Passives


The balli was kicked ti.
The chain between the ball and t created
by moving the ball into SpecIP is an A-chain
(a chain whose top is in a position where
you can only find arguments). Like subject
position (SpecTP or SpecAgrSP).

And not like SpecCP, where you can find things like
why, or when. That’s known as an “A-bar position,” or
a non-argument position.
Kids vs. passives…


It was observed early on (Horgan 1978,
Maratsos et al. 1985) that kids have trouble
with passives.
But there are a couple of asymmetries:

Kids are better at actional passives than
nonactional passives:



Jasmine was combed (by Wendy)
Peter Pan was feared (by Captain Hook)
Kids are better at short passives (without the
by-phrase) earlier than long passives.
Why are kids better at actional
passives?



In English at least, it seems like there
are two kinds of words with passive
morphology:
Verbal: The suspect was seen.
Adjectival: His hair seems combed.
Verbal and adjectival passives





Generally, non-action verbs make poor adjectival
passives (while action verbs are fine):
*The suspect seems seen. The seen suspect (fled).
Seen though the movie was, John went to see it
again.
The cloth seems torn. The torn cloth (is useless). Torn
though the cloth was, John used it anyway.
So: Action verbs can form adjectival passives.
So: Maybe the reason that kids do better with
“actional passives” is that they are only using
adjectival passives?
Verbal vs. adjectival passives


Borer & Wexler (1987): the early passives that
we see kids produce/comprehend are
adjectival passives.
The crucial difference (on B&W’s analysis)
between verbal and adjectival passives has
to do with where the modification of the
argument structure (removing the
Agent/external argument) happens.



adjectival passive: in the lexicon
(turns it into a real adjective)
verbal passive: in the syntax
So, kids can’t do the syntactic passive. Why?
Verbal vs. adjectival passives

A likely difference between the two:




verbal passives move their argument into the
usual external argument position
adjectival passives just start their argument in
the usual external argument position
So, perhaps the movement of the internal
argument to the external position is the
problem.
Borer & Wexler (1987) propose what we can call the
A-chain Deficit Hypothesis:
A-chains are unavailable to kids
with a “Proto-UG”.
Adjectival passives and verbal
passives
 So, the “passives” that we see young kids

produce are actually deceptions. They are not
really verbal passives—and if the ACDH is right,
they couldn’t be—but are adjectival.
Looking at Hebrew, where adjectival passives
and verbal passives are distinct, B&W observe
that adjectival passives are (clearly) used early,
and verbal passive only appear at “school age”
(Berman & Sagi 1981).

There is an additional complication in Hebrew that we won’t get into
here, which involves the availability of unmoved Themes in verbal
passives. B&W87 argued that kids were also lacking the case
assignment mechanism that allows this; we might alternatively think
of it as being like the Russian Genitive of Negation discussed later,
involving an (optional) “hidden” movement.
Predictions


A-chain Deficit Hypothesis:
A-chains are unavailable to kids
with a “Proto-UG”.
So, suppose that this is true. What are the
predictions?


Of course, (real, verbal) passives will be impossible.
But also anything else with an A-chain.

Ouch. Well, soon after 1987, people came to believe that pretty much
every sentence has an A-chain (VPISH, subject starts inside VP), so
that can’t be right as stated. It has to be something special about
raising the Theme. One suggestion (B&W92) is “non-canoncial -role
assignment”, though that’s not great either, since we need to add
some kind of theory of what canonical -role assignment is.
Other things with A-chains



The VPISH has given us a hint that perhaps
“A-chain” is not exactly the right concept,
but let’s focus on the kind of object-tosubject movement that we see in passives.
Other obvious candidate: Unaccusatives.
This opens up a bigger can of worms. Do
kids have problems with unaccusatives?
What is the nature of the problems?
Unaccusatives

There are two kinds of intransitive verbs:




Unergative
Unaccusative
(subject-type argument)
(object-type argument)
The unergative verbs have an external
argument— just like a transitive verb.
The unaccusative verbs have only an
internal argument, which moves to subject
position—just like in a passive.
Unaccusatives ≈ passives

An unaccusative is structurally like a passive:


An unergative is not.




The traini arrived ti.
The baby giggled.
So we expect kids to have the same
troubles with unaccusatives and passives.
In particular, we expect kids to have no way
to represent an unaccusative.
But we know kids use and understand verbs
that are, for adults, unaccusative. So what is
the implication?
S-homophony


Borer & Wexler suggest that what’s
happening when a kid comprehends/uses
an “unaccusative” verb is that the verb is
misanalyzed as an unergative.
It has to be, the kid—by hypothesis—can’t
represent an unaccusative structure.




The boat sank.
*The boati sank ti.
The doll giggled.
The reason this happens is that the surface
form doesn’t distinguish between
unergatives and unaccusatives. They are
“S(yntactic)-homophones.”
S-homophony


That is: the (immature) kid can’t tell the
difference between an unergative and an
unaccusative.
Is there evidence of that?


Maybe, there’s some. But there’s also some evidence
against it.
Is this even conceptually a good idea?

Probably not. Why is an unaccusative unaccusative?
Because the argument is a Theme. UTAH says
Themes are in object position. So when a kid uses sink
or fall do they think the argument is an Agent? Or do
they violate UTAH? And once their grammar matures,
how do they recover?
B&W: Pro-conflation:
Causatives

Causativization adds a causative argument (in
English, it happens to be Ø):



Mom’s favorite vase broke.
Timmy broke Mom’s favorite vase.
In English (not in all languages, e.g., Hebrew), this
can only happen if there wasn’t already an
external argument. Works for unaccusatives, but
not for unergatives or transitives:




The doll giggled.
*Peter giggled the doll.
Peter kicked the ball.
*I kicked Peter the ball (‘I made Peter kick the ball.’)
Causatives


If kids can’t represent unaccusatives (that is, if all
intransitives are for them unergative), then they
can’t make that distinction.
Kids hear:



The door opened. Daddy opened the door.
The kids cannot reach the (adult-)correct
conclusion that causativization only works for
unaccusatives. It must be possible for any
intransitive.
And indeed, kids over-apply causativization to
unergatives too:

Daddy giggled the doll.
Anti-conflation: Kim (1997)

Kim (1997) observed that in Korean, kids
make a “negation misplacement” error only
with respect to objects and unaccusative
subjects, never to unergative or transitive
subjects:


na an pap mek-e
(adult: na pap(-ul) an mek-e)
I neg rice eat
‘I do not eat rice.’
an ippal ssek-e
(adult: ippal(-i) an ssek-e)
neg teeth rot
‘I won’t have a cavity.’
Anti-conflation: Guasti (2002)

Guasti also notes (in the textbook, without any
citation of any other study) that Italian kids
generally get the auxiliary selection right—much
earlier than the purported maturation.



Gianni {è, *ha} andato.
(adults)
Gianni {is, has} left
‘Gianni left.’
Diana between 2;0 and 2;7 produced 22 relevant sentences
and 19 of them correctly had be.
Guasti concludes that this is bad for the
“maturational account”—but it’s really only bad
for the ACDH version of it. Something else could
still be maturing.
Pro-conflation: Babyonyshev et
al. (1998)


Testing the idea from Borer & Wexler (1987)
that unaccusatives are analyzed as if they
are unergatives by kids in the pre-passive
stage of life.
Turns out that Russian provides a nice test of
unaccusativity/unergativity with the
“genitive of negation” so we can directly
check to see how kids are analyzing their
intransitives.
Russian genitive of negation


In negative sentences, an object in the scope of
negation can be accusative (if the object is
definite/specific) or genitive (if the object is
indefinite/non-specific).
So: ability to be marked with genitive a property
of VP-internal indefinite objects.



Ja ne poluchil pis’ma.
I not received letter-acc.pl
‘I didn’t receive the/some letters.’
Ja ne poluchil (nikakix) pisem.
I not received (neg-kind-gen.pl) letter-gen.pl
‘I didn’t receive any letters.’
Ja poluchil pis’ma/*pisem.
I received letter-acc.pl/*letter-gen.pl
‘I received the/some letters.’
Russian genitive of negation


Arguments of unaccusatives and
passives (pronounced in their
postverbal, VP-internal base position)
can be marked with GoN.
A small class of verbs requires its
arguments to be marked with GoN
(regardless of definiteness); includes
existential be.
Russian genitive of negation

Base-generated objects (arguments of
passives and unaccusatives) still have a
“hidden A-chain”, however. There is some
relation between these objects and the
subject position that is (like?) an A-chain.


(They “move covertly”—it’s as if they move to subject
position, except that you pronounce the trace instead.)
We believe this based on the following
facts about licensing of negative phrases.
Covert movement of genitive
argument

Point 1: When clausal negation cooccurs in the same clause with
negative phrases, all is well.


[ any .. neg ], [ … neg … any]
Point 2: Negation in a lower clause
can’t license a negative phrase in
the upper clause.

* [ any … [ … neg … ]]
Covert movement of genitive
argument

Point 3: A raised negative phrase
subject has to raise to a clause with
negation—not from a clause with
negation.
[ anyi … neg … [ ti … ] ]
 * [ anyi …[ ti … ] ]

Covert movement of genitive
argument

Point 4: A raising verb embedding a
clause with an unaccusative and an
genitive negative phrase needs to have
negation above it and not down with it.



[ … neg … [ … any-gen … ]]
* [ … [ … neg … any-gen … ]]
GoN acts as if it moved into the upper
clause, we just can’t see it (it’s covert).
Now, what do we expect
pre-A-chain kids to do?

In GoN constructions, the
unaccusative argument is pronounced
in its base-position
There can be no re-analysis as an unergative.
 No S-homophones.
 Moreover, GoN is prohibited with unergatives.


This is pretty much impossible to solve—
the kid’s stuck, and we expect them
just not to use GoN.
Testing the GoN




GoN is allowed with transitives and these do
not involve problematic A-chains.
First order of business is to see if kids know
how to use GoN in the unproblematic
cases.
Tested 30 kids in Moscow between 3;0 and
6;6.
First result: Kids use genitive about 75% of
the time where it should be used, around
4% of the time where it shouldn’t. Smart
kids.
Testing the GoN


Second result, split by age: Verbs that require
GoN showed significant difference by age:
younger kids (4;0) used GoN 30% of the time,
older kids (5;4) used it 60% of the time.
This is still fairly course—it turns out that if we look
at the individual subjects, we will find all and only
the patterns the hypothesis predicts with respect
to where kids accept GoN.

At least this is what Babyonyshev et al. assert—it’s actually
not really clear that this is the case (Hale 2001).
Subject by subject use of GoN

Kids divided by their case response for





transitive non-specific (adult: gen)
transitive specific (adult: acc)
unaccusative (adult: gen)
bleached unaccusative (adult: gen)
They fell into classes.




Kids who don’t know how to use GoN at all.
Kids who use GoN like adults (post-A-chain kids)
Kids use GoN right for transitives, not for
unaccusatives.
*Kids use GoN right for unaccusatives not for
transitives.
Kids who use GoN right for
transitives, not for
 7 really act asunaccusatives
predicted:


Nom for both bleached and non-bleached unaccusatives.
(Adults would have gen here; and nom for unergatives, as
these kids have)
3 get non-bleached unaccusatives (only) right:

Gen for non-bleached, nom for bleached.


Explanation: maybe these kids are in transition, or maybe UTAH vs.
ACDH are fighting, or maybe it’s just performance errors.
8 get bleached unaccusatives (only) right:

Nom for non-bleached, gen for bleached.

Explanation: be is in this class, overwhelming frequency, learned by
rote? So, we ignore bleached.
GoN as a diagnostic

So, it’s not really clear what we have here.
We have something like a tendency toward
a problem with unaccusatives, for a certain
set of kids. The results were not as clear-cut
as one might have hoped for, however.



Perhaps this is a problem with GoN as a true
diagnostic of unaccusativity, particularly with respect
to the “bleached” verbs.
Perhaps this is a problem with the premise itself:
maybe pre-passive kids don’t have the same problem
with unaccusatives as with passives.
In any event, the case for unaccusatives is less clear.
Two possible interpretations




The ACDH says that the object-to-subject
movement required in a passive is problematic,
and there is at least some evidence that points to
problems with unaccusatives too. But that
movement is not the only thing they have in
common.
ACDH: A-Chain Deficit Hypothesis
(no A-chains)
EARH: External Argument Requirement Hypothesis
(external arguments required)
Passives and unaccusatives both fail both.
Transitives and unergatives both pass both.
Possible support for EARH over
ACDH

Snyder, Hyams, and Crisma (1994) found that
French kids get auxiliary selection right from a
young age—in particular with reflexive clitics.


Although the unaccusative/unergative distinction seems to
play a role in the selection of the auxiliary, it’s not a 1-to-1
correlation (particularly in French, it might be closer in
Italian, though). Only some unaccusatives take be, and a
kid still needs to figure out which.
Reflexives OTOH are much more reliable. There
are good arguments for supposing that their
structure involves object-to-subject movement:

Le chienj si’est [ ti mordu tj ]
‘the dog bit itself.’
EARH…

If this analysis is right, then we have “object-tosubject” movement just like in passives and
unaccusatives, yet kids can do this at a young
age. What gives?



There is an A-chain just like in unaccusatives and passives.
So the problem would seem not to be about A-chains.
The reflexive and unaccusative/passive differ in that the
reflexives still have their external -role intact.
Hence: maybe the “pre-A-chain” kids are really
“obligatory external argument” kids (EARH).
What else does EARH predict?

So, if EARH is right, it predicts kids will do
poorly on anything without an external
argument. So far, we have:



What else lacks an external argument? Well,
raising verbs and weather verbs:




Fine: transitives, unergatives
Not fine: unaccusatives, passives
Johnnyi seems [ ti to be riding a horsie ].
It seems [ that Johnny is riding a horsie ].
It rained.
So how do kids do on those?
It rained

Kirby & Becker (in press. JCL) looked at
occurrences of expletive it (among other
things).




Kids use the referential pronoun it first.
Kids leave out expletive it for a while.
Then, kids use expletive it.
But that’s not even the important thing. Kids
use the weather verbs (way too early), and
they have no external argument.

Adam by 2;6, Eve by 1;12, Nina by 2;2, Peter by 2;6.
EARH seems to us to have
trouble

Wexler (2004) reports that kids have trouble with
raising verbs:


As predicted—they should have trouble with
seems generally (by EARH), or with the raising
itself (by ACDH). Except kids do great on:


Berti seems to Ernie [ti to be wearing a hat].
It seems to Ernie [that Bert is wearing a hat].
So, it’s not seems that they have trouble with.
We’re back to (something like) the ACDH again,
it’s the movement that matters.

Except that we still at some point have to confront the
Romance reflexives/auxiliaries fact.
ACDH seems to have trouble

Except Becker (2006, LI) found that kids
do fabulously with:
The hayi seems ti to be on the ground.
 The dogi seemed ti to be purple.


So, it looks like the experiencer is
causing problems, but only in raising
structures (not it structures):
#Berti seems to Ernie [ti to be wearing a hat].
 It seems to Ernie [that Bert is wearing a hat].

Wexler (2004)


Wexler (2004) proposed a new version of the
ACDH relying on the concept of “phases” in
minimalist syntax.
The basic idea of a phase is that a tree is built up
from bottom to top in “chunks” and once a
chunk has been built, you can’t “see into it” any
further than the edge:



[CP … [vP specifier v [VP … ] … ] … ]
Consequence: unless an embedded DP can get
into SpecvP, it will be “frozen” inside the vP.
Proposal: Some vs for adults are “defective” (not
phases), including unaccusatives and passives.
For kids, no vs are “defective”.
Wexler (2004)



Universal Phase Requirement
For the immature child, v always defines a phase.
Effect of this is that movement of objects into
subject position is impossible. The object doesn’t
go into SpecvP and for kids, that’s obligatory.
One prediction this makes is that if there is some
other reason for kids to get the object into
SpecvP, then unaccusatives should be possible.


One such reason would be if the object were a wh-word. The
idea is that the wh-word first moves to SpecvP and then
moves on.
So, let’s check…
Hirsch & Wexler (2004)

Hirsch & Wexler looked into this, and
discovered that indeed:
#Bert seems to Ernie to be wearing a hat.
 Who seems to Ernie to be wearing a hat?

(I think—I must confess, I still have not actually managed
to get my hands on this paper, this is based on
secondhand information and guesswork, but it’s probably
what they found.)
 But this is “beautiful and awesome” (paraphrasing Ken’s
Wexler’s plenary talk at BUCLD 2004), what a weird thing
to be true, but yet predicted.

Hyams & Snyder (2005)


Great, but neither the ACDH nor the UPR predicts
the thing with the reflexive clitics in Romance. Kids
should fail (because the object moves out), but
they don’t. This was why EARH beat ACDH in the
first place.
Interesting, quite different idea, based on a
different analysis of the passive. “Smuggling”
(Collins 2005).
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Basic idea: You can’t move A-move a DP over another one, the
solution is to first move something containing the DP over the other
one, then move the DP out. Maybe I’ll draw it on the board.
I think this is the same concept as what Sauerland (1994?) called
“Surfing”
Bottom line: Children have trouble A-moving a DP
past another argument.
Hyams & Snyder (2005)

Romance reflexives:


Passives:


? Well, but are we sure kids have trouble with unaccusatives?
Raising past experiencers:


PRO or Agent of by-phrase is in SpecvP. Smuggling
required.
Unaccusatives:


Suppose that v is the REFL morpheme, nothing in SpecvP.
Nothing to get in the way.
Experiencer gets in the way. Smuggling required.
Raising without experiencers, raising with whwords over experiencers:

No smuggling required.
Beauty & awe: Lg. acq. as high
science
 Notice what a nice
progression we’ve had here,
even if we haven’t necessarily come to a
definitive conclusion.

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Passives were hard? Why? The movement. What else has the
movement?
Unaccusatives? Maybe also hard. But Romance reflexives
aren’t. So, maybe it’s the external argument. What else lacks
an external argument?
Raising verbs? Hard, but only when there’s the movement.
So, it’s the movement still, but it’s not A-chains exactly, it’s
the ability to get out of a phase. When might you
independently be able to get out of a phase?
Wh-words in raising contexts? Possible. But raising without
experiencers seems to be possible. Why?
Kids can’t smuggle? But we need to re-evaluate
unaccusatives.
But are passives actually
impossible?
 There’s some dispute about this, it turns out…

It’s only getting the -role to the by-phrase: Fox &
Grodzinsky (1998)





No, it’s not; kids think by is about: Hirsch & Wexler (2005)
The tests were pragmatically ill-conceived: O’Brien, Grolla,
Lillo-Martin (2005)
There are languages with early passives. It depends on the
properties of the child’s input.
Inuktitut: Crago & Allen (1996)
Sesotho: Demuth (1989?)

Leads to a separate thread of argumentation: Those things that
look like “passives” in these languages aren’t really, cf. adjectival
passives. See, e.g., footnote in Babyonyshev et al. (1998),
Crawford (2004)
Fox, Grodzinsky

Testing kids on actional/nonactional,
long/short be/get passives:

Actional passives pose no problem for comprehension
(long or short).




This is surprising—explanation, kids use by for Affector,
which turns out to be right, but it’s not due to transmitting the
-role.
Get passives (long) seem to pose no problem.
Nonactional short passives are pretty well
comprehended.
Nonactional long passives are at chance.

Kids can’t transmit the -role to the by-phrase.
-transmission

In verbal be passives, the -role seems to be
“transmitted” to by:





But not with get-passives (by works alone).


Aladdin is pushed by Jasmine (agent).
Captain Hook is feared by Michael (experiencer)
A cake is offered to Ariel by Pinocchio (source)
The ship was sunk [PRO to collect the insurance].
The ship got sunk [PRO to collect the insurance].
F&G suggest problem with -transmission
due to processing (only option left is direct
assignment from by); for nonactional verbs,
get passive).
Hirsch & Wexler (2005)

Tested kids on by phrases vs. about phrases,
as in:




The story about Elmo had cars in it.
The story by Elmo had cars in it.
Kids treated by phrases like about phrases.
They did great on the about ones (91%) and
lousy on the by ones (28%).
Conclusion: The F&G story about Affectors
doesn’t seem to be right.
O’Brien et al. (2005)

Experiments showing that passive wasn’t good
were pragmatically flawed. Fix the flaw, fix the
performance.




Bill was kicked by Pete.
Bill was seen by Pete.
(actional, fine)
(non-actional, problems)
Except that lots of people can see, even if only
one person is kicking. Plus, this is kind of weird if
there isn’t a character to contrast with Pete.
Tried setting up the scenario better so that the
question of whether Bill was seen by Pete was at
issue—and 4-year olds got it 82% of the time.
Demuth (1989), Allen & Crago
(1996)


Passives seem early in Sesotho & Inuktitut. The
claim is that they’re frequent in the input, they’re
verbal (they involve an A-chain), and they’re in
use by age 3.
This is a problem for the Maturation hypothesis as
an explanation for the delay in passives. Age of
maturation can’t vary by language.

Two possible counters to this: 1) Those weren’t really Achain-containing passives (Crawford 2004); 2) It wasn’t
ACDH after all, and Sesotho differs in the relevant respect
from English. For example: smuggling not required? (For
another day perhaps)
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GRS LX 700 Language Acquisition and Linguistic Theory