Patterns and V2

Learning V2 word order patterns has been argued to require innate linguistic representations. However, in order to represent patterns in an innate tree, a child must first learn the patterns, raising the possibility that these patterns are—at least initially—all the child knows. I show that adults can learn V2 patterns without knowing the underlying rules as long as there is V2 morphology. Furthermore, adults who know the patterns, but not the rules, make the same types of word-order errors as children acquiring real V2 languages. I argue that adults have access to a robust pattern-learning mechanism with the right properties to be valuable in natural language acquisition.

(Getz, 2018, proceedings of GURT: Variable properties: Their nature and acquisition; Getz, under review)

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