The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 11/6 - Christiana Christodoulou

Speaker: Christiana Christodoulou (MIT Brain & Cognitive Sciences/University of Cyprus)
Title: Towards a Unified Analysis of the Linguistic Development of Down Syndrome
Date/Time:Thursday, Nov. 6, 12:30-1:45pm
Location: 32-D461

Previous studies on the linguistic development of individuals diagnosed with Down Syndrome (DS) report both phonetic/phonological as well as morphosyntactic impairment. To date, there has not been any research on the effects of phonetic/phonological restrictions on inflectional marking, nor a theoretical analysis of the distinct performance of individuals with DS. Cypriot Greek individuals with DS exhibit distinct articulation and phonological difficulties that affect the production of inflectional marking. Once those are factored out, results reveal high accuracy rates (over 95%) with aspect, tense, person, number and case. In this talk I deal with the small residue of differences, which were morphosyntactically conditioned, and argue that the use of alternative forms exhibit a clear preference for the default value of each inflectional feature. I provide a unified analysis couched within the Distributed Morphology framework, covering both morphosyntactic as well as phonological differences. I suggest that failure to use the targeted form and the consistency in using default values derives from failure of the Subset Principle to fully apply.