Ewgenia Klaschik Tanja Kupisch

Overt and null subjects in the two varieties in Venetian-Italian school children

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This study investigates subject use in [-topic shift] and [+topic shift] contexts in Standard Italian and Venetian - two close varieties which differ in their use of overt and null pronouns. In an acceptability judgment, we compare two groups of bilectals in their two varieties: children aged 7-12 years, divided in strong and weak dialect speakers, and an adult control group. All groups show different subject preference in both conditions in Italian and Venetian. Nevertheless, the bilectal speakers are more inclined to accept (redundant) overt subjects in the [-TS] contexts compared to previously studied monolingual Italian speakers, suggesting that there is an influence from Venetian where overt subjects are mandatory in some contexts. Furthermore, strong dialect speakers outperformed weak dialect speakers in both varieties. Thus, more exposure to the dialect (Venetian) does not have a negative effect on the linguistic competence in Standard Italian.


  • Pro-Drop
  • Bilectal Acquisition
  • Venetian
  • Crosslinguistic Influence
  • Topic Shift


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