This study investigates how givenness and animacy influence object order (IO-DO vs. DO-IO) in ditransitive constructions in Croatian child language. We have conducted an elicitation task with 59 monolingual Croatian children (mean age = 4;4) and 36 adult controls (mean age = 21), in which the participants were asked to describe images depicting ditransitive actions. These actions differed with regard to givenness (DO given, or IO given) and animacy (IO animate, or both IO and DO animate). Both groups demonstrated an animacy effect, manifested as a significant increase of DO-IO productions when both objects were animate, compared to when only the IO was; adults presented DO-IO preference at ceiling level. Givenness had a statistically significant effect (p-value < 0.01) only in adults, but both groups were affected by the givenness of the DO. This paper supplies arguments to support previous indications that (1) DO-IO is the underlying order in Croatian ditransitives, and (2) that children do not have an IO-DO preference as has been reported by previous studies conducted on case-marking languages.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 85-125
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.