Dative Alternation: A Study on Iranian Children Acquiring Persian as Their First Language

Ali Panah Dehghani, Firooz Sadighi, Abdoreza Seyari


Research on English language acquisition as a first language indicates that dative alternations have been emphasized. Dative alternations are constructs which allow both double object dative as well as prepositional dative. A great deal of research has been done on dative alternation in English language. However, scant research has been conducted on Persian language. The alternation in word order in dative construction is shown to be different in Persian in comparison to English. Furthermore, more options or types are reported for dative alternations in Persian than English. Therefore, the current study focuses on the probability of using dative construction alternation among Iranian children learning Persian as their first language. The subjects of the study are eight children, males and females, aging 3.7 to 5 years old. The researchers employed an elicitation technique in which some of the most frequently used dative verbs were required to be utilized; they used some pictures and motivated the subjects to utter what they could perceive. Then, the data were collected and analyzed which indicated that Prepositional Dative (PD) types appear earlier than Double Object Dative (DOD) in Iranian children learning Persian as their first language.


dative verbs, dative alternations, Iranian children, first language, Persian language

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