Processing Subject Relative Clauses in English: Evidence from Child Speakers of English-Lexified Creoles

Arlene Clachar, Ph.D., Columbia University, Linguistics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The large-scale continuous migration of speakers from the Anglophone Caribbean to the United States over the past 2 decades has led to an influx of school children who are native speakers of English-lexified Creoles (ELCs). These are oral languages which do not generally occur in formal institutional domains requiring academic registers. Thus, ELCs do not depend as heavily on relative clauses as Standard English does in order to create compact and dense text. However, as children acquire Standard English in the educational system so comes the demand to acquire discourse that relies heavily on relative clauses. The study found that the creole continuum and serial verbs were associated with challenges that child speakers of ELCs exhibited as they processed subject relative clauses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-640
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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