The acquisition of auxiliary syntax: BE and HAVE

Theakston, A. L., Lieven, E. V., Pine, J. M., & Rowland, C. F. (2005). The acquisition of auxiliary syntax: BE and HAVE. Cognitive Linguistics, 16(1), 247-277. doi:10.1515/cogl.2005.16.1.247.
This study examined patterns of auxiliary provision and omission for the auxiliaries BE and HAVE in a longitudinal data set from 11 children between the ages of two and three years. Four possible explanations for auxiliary omission—a lack of lexical knowledge, performance limitations in production, the Optional Infinitive hypothesis, and patterns of auxiliary use in the input—were examined. The data suggest that although none of these accounts provides a full explanation for the pattern of auxiliary use and nonuse observed in children's early speech, integrating input-based and lexical learning-based accounts of early language acquisition within a constructivist approach appears to provide a possible framework in which to understand the patterns of auxiliary use found in the children's speech. The implications of these findings for models of children's early language acquisition are discussed.
Publication type
Journal article
Publication date

Share this page