The Dative Alternation in Norwegian Child Language


  • Merete Anderssen University of Tromsø, Norway
  • Paula Fikkert Radboud University
  • Roksolana Mykhaylyk University of Tromsø
  • Yulia Rodina University of Tromsø



Research has shown that givenness is one of several factors that influence the choice of word order with the Dative Alternation in languages such as English. This paper investigates to what extent Norwegian children between the ages of 4;2 and 6;0 are sensitive to this factor in production. In order to test this, an experiment was carried out in which the children were prompted to produce structures involving ditransitive verbs when either the Theme or the Recipient was given. The results show that the children are sensitive to the impact of givenness, but while this is expressed through the choice of word order in Theme-given contexts (yielding the prepositional dative), it is expressed by argument omission in the Recipient-given contexts (resulting in one-argument responses with only the Theme overtly produced).

Author Biography

Merete Anderssen, University of Tromsø, Norway

Associate Professor, Department of Languages and Linguistics