A Study of Syntactic Properties and Acquisition of Head-Internal Relative Clauses in Korean

한국어 내포 머리어 관계절의 통사적 특성과 습득 연구

  • Published : 2003.06.01


In this article, we investigate some structural properties of head-internal relative clauses in Korean and their development in Korean-speaking children. In this study, we found head-internal relative clauses in Korean has a more limited domain than head-external relative clauses with respect to positions that can be relativized and clause boundaries that the head can move across: in head-internal relative clauses, only a subject or an object can be relativized and doubly embedded clause constitutes a barrier to the movement of the head. We also found that head-internal relative clauses are easier to understand and produce than head-external relative clauses. In addition, we found that head-internal relative clauses emerge earlier than head-external relative clauses in the acquisition of relative clauses in Korean. The preference of young children (aged 4 and 5) for head-internal relative clauses over head-external relative clauses suggests that children like to use head-internal relative clauses at an early developmental stage when they have difficulty in using head-external relative clauses.


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