The acquisition of partitive clitics in Romance five-year-olds


  • Anna Gavarró Algueró Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Maria Teresa Guasti Università di Milano-Bicocca
  • Laurice Tuller Université François Rabelais, Tours
  • Philippe Prévost Université François Rabelais, Tours
  • Adriana Belletti Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Luca Cilibrasi Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Hélène Delage Université de Génève
  • Mirta Vernice Università di Milano-Bicocca


Acquisition, partitive clitics, clitic omission, child language, Catalan, French, Italian


In this paper we look at a previously unexplored empirical domain: the acquisition of partitive clitics in Catalan, French and Italian. The course of acquisition of third person object clitics is well known and clitic omission is limited to a first stage in the languages in which it is found, so that at age five children do not omit clitics any more, unless they suffer from Specific Language Impairment. Partitive clitics share many properties with third person object clitics and here we develop two experiments, an elicitation and a repetition experiment, of partitive clitics in transitive sentences, and report results for 60 children. Of the two experiments, repetition shows to be the more reliable method, while elicitation gives rise to more pragmatically adequate answers which nevertheless do not present a clitic. The results from both experiments show that partitive clitic omission is not found for any of the languages tested at age five, just like third person object clitics.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Anna Gavarró Algueró, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Departament de Filologia Catalana profesora agregada



How to Cite

Gavarró Algueró, A., Guasti, M. T., Tuller, L., Prévost, P., Belletti, A., Cilibrasi, L., Delage, H., & Vernice, M. (2012). The acquisition of partitive clitics in Romance five-year-olds. IBERIA: An International Journal of Theoretical Linguistics, 3(2), 1–19. Retrieved from



  • Abstract 91
  • PDF (Español (España)) 139