Children (and Some Adults) Overgeneralize Negative Concord: the Case of Fragment Answers to Negative Questions in Italian
Recent studies on language acquisition have shown that children may initially adopt a Negative Concord grammar also when this option is disfavoured or forbidden in the target language. If children overextend Negative Concord, they might do it not only in Double Negation languages, but also in Romance. This hypothesis will be tested by looking at Italian children’s comprehension of negative fragments used as answers of negative questions: in this context, Double Negation readings typically arise in adult speakers of Italian. The experimental results show that Italian 5-year-olds prefer Negative Concord interpretations to a larger extend than the adult control group, supporting the idea that Negative Concord might initially be overgeneralized by young children.