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  • Author or Editor: György Rákosi x
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This paper aims at investigating a special, causative use of dative case in Hungarian that has not received much attention in the literature so far. I show that Hungarian dative causers differ from dative causers in the languages of the Balkan Sprachbund, German, or Spanish in important ways. What makes Hungarian dative causers different is that they are not licensed and interpreted via syntactic structure but are lexically determined to be causative given that dative case has a special, causative lexical entry in Hungarian.

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In a number of languages, children have problems with the interpretation of pronouns if a potential local antecedent is present. There is an intensive debate on whether this effect is due to a delayed acquisition of Principle B, or it is the result of pragmatic or processing difficulties that children face in interpretation tasks. We conducted two experiments involving a picture-sentence verification task to investigate whether the Pronoun Interpretation Problem exists in Hungarian child language. We found that the Problem is present if the test sentences are given in isolation, but it disappears if a minimally coherent discourse is created. We argue that our results support the view that the binding principles are innate and do not need to be acquired, but children have problems with computing coreference options in certain contexts (Reinhart 2004; 2006; 2011). Coherent discourse allows children to accommodate pronouns with close to adult-like success because in this case they do not calculate local coreference possibilities for pronouns.

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