Vol. XX Nr. 1

Special issue: The Acquisition of the Syntax and Interpretation of Subjects in L1 and 2L1 Romanian

Editor: Larisa Avram

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Larisa Avram
Introduction to the special issue: Some notes on the study of early subjects in L1 and 2L1 Romanian

Abstract: This article offers a brief presentation of the main issues and results which emerge from the few previous studies on the syntax and interpretation of subjects in child Romanian as well as an introduction to this special issue.

Keywords: subjects, L1 Romanian, 2L1 Romanian

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Otilia Teodorescu
Early subjects in child Romanian: A case study

Abstract: This paper documents the use of early subjects in one longitudinal corpus of monolingual Romanian. The focus is on the null/overt and preverbal/postverbal subject alternation, as well as on pragmatic adequacy. In accordance with previous studies, the results indicate that the syntax of subjects is acquired early. Overt and null subjects are attested from the first available transcript (age 2;1). Overt subjects are correctly placed in both pre- and post-verbal position. The use of null and overt subjects reveals early sensitivity to discourse-pragmatic constraints. The corpus contains, however, several 1st and 2nd person pronominal subjects which are pragmatically infelicitous. This is interpreted as a delay in discourse-pragmatic knowledge of subject use.

Keywords: null subjects, overt subjects, child Romanian, pro-drop.

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Veronica Tomescu
The acquisition of subjects in 2L1 Romanian

Abstract: The present paper charts the acquisition of Romanian subjects in a Romanian-Hungarian bilingual context, on the basis of two longitudinal corpora. The main results reveal early acquisition of subject use and relatively early sensitivity to the pragmatic constraints governing overt pronominal subjects. A higher percentage of overt subjects which differs both from the input and from what has been reported for L1 Romanian may however indicate that this is an area vulnerable in bilingual acquisition as a syntax/pragmatics interface phenomenon.

Keywords: Romanian-Hungarian bilinguals, subjects, syntactic-pragmatic interface

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Ioana Stoicescu and Maria Aurelia Cotfas
Ambiguity resolution in the pronominal domain in child Romanian

Abstract: This paper explores the acquisition of antecedent preferences by typically-developing Romanian-speaking (pre)school children. It investigates the antecedent preferences for subject pronouns (pro, el ‘he’, this ‘acesta’) in the subjunctive complements of volitional verbs. The results indicate that children overwhelmingly associated pro with close antecedents. There was a slight preference for a close antecedent with the overt pronoun, while no preference was observed for the demonstrative pronoun. The children treated pro and the overt pronoun differently and were aware that each pronominal marked a distinct degree of accessibility, but the evidence pointed towards a delay in the acquisition of the exact degree of accessibility marked by the overt pronoun. The delay was even more marked for the acquisition of the demonstrative pronoun.

Keywords: pronominal reference, antecedent preferences, accessibility.

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Otilia Teodorescu
Pronominal subject interpretation in temporal adjuncts in child Romanian  

Abstract: The present paper reports the results of an experimental study on the resolution of intra-sentential anaphora in child Romanian. In a picture-selection task, 3-, 5- and 8-year old monolingual Romanian children had to identify the matrix antecedent of 3rd person overt pronouns, null pronouns and demonstratives which were used as the subject in a temporal adjunct. The results showed that only 8-year-olds had adult-like antecedent preferences. At age 3 and at age 5, Romanian-speaking monolingual children do not distinguish between the discourse-pragmatics properties of overt and null 3rd person pronouns. With demonstratives, they have adult-like biases as early as age 3. This developmental asymmetry is accounted for in terms of the properties of the Romanian pronominal system, where overt pronominal subjects can occur in topic continuity contexts, on a par with null pronominal subjects. This overlap between the two types of pronominal subject can delay the identification of their discourse-pragmatics properties.

Keywords: intra-sentential anaphora, L1 Romanian, null pronominal subject, overt pronominal subject, demonstrative

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Veronica Tomescu
Anaphora resolution in 2L1 Romanian. Evidence from Romanian-Hungarian bilinguals  

Abstract: The paper reports the results of an experimental study on intra-sentential anaphora resolution in 2L1 Romanian, by Romanian-Hungarian bilingual children. I investigated the interpretation of null, overt and demonstrative pronoun subjects by means of a picture selection task. Two bilingual groups aged 5-6 years and 8-9 years were compared to two age-matched Romanian control groups. While the monolinguals show progress from the younger to the older age group regarding the interpretation of the null pronoun, the bilinguals give at chance responses in both age groups. In the overt pronoun condition, with the exception of the younger monolinguals who showed a non-adult-like subject bias, none of the groups showed any antecedent preference. It is only in the demonstrative condition that a clear object bias was obtained with all four groups. I accounted for the observed delay in terms of an insufficient grasp of the relevant discourse properties, as a result of bilingualism effects.

Keywords: anaphora resolution, null pronominal subject, demonstrative, personal pronoun, Romanian-Hungarian bilinguals.

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Judith Woodsworth. 2017. Telling the Story of Translation. Writers Who Translate.  (Reviewed by Roxana Bîrsanu)

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