Hierarchy of Projections and Language Acquisition

Abstract

There is considerable debate within the field of syntax about the hierarchy of elements above the verb. Some linguists argue that the Tense Phrase dominates the Agreement Phrase (Pollock, 1989) while others argue the opposite using evidence from a variety of languages (Belletti, 1990). One area that has not been explored, however, is first language acquisition which can show if there is a specific order of acquisition. Previous research has examined the verbal domain and found an order of acquisition of verbal elements (intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, auxiliaries and tense, and idiomatic expressions), although this study is more fine-grained in analyzing the verbal elements. To see if language acquisition can shed light on the hierarchy, we are analyzing Sarah