This study investigates whether children learning Irish as a first language show a preference for one or other of the two mechanisms for relative clause formation used in the adult language (movement and binding), and what details of the grammar of Irish relative clauses children are sensitive to. Our results suggest that Irish-speaking children have acquired both a movement and a binding mechanism for relativization by age five, and that they additionally have a non-movement mechanism for forming subject relatives, one that is not licensed in adult Irish. The data is discussed in the context of other studies of relativization in child language, cross-linguistic evidence and the computation of binding structures in language production and processing.
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