Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of General Linguistics, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Literature and Humanities of the University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


Recursive structures, structures whose representation is produced by the repeated application of a syntactic rule, have been observed and investigated extensively in languages. By means of an experiment, the present study investigates the acquisition of recursive locatives in Persian-speaking children and provides new evidence on the subject of children's learning path, which lends its support to theoretical insights about the representation of this structure in the mind. Different languages do not uniformly deem recursive structures well-formed. Furthermore, in languages that consider the same recursive structure well-formed, it is possible for the acquisition age of this same structure to be different in children speaking different languages. Experiments report differences in the age that English and Japanese speakers acquire recursive locatives. In these studies, early acquisition of locative structures that employ identical prepositions is observed, as well as early acquisition in the language that marks the recursive structure by an overt functional element, namely, Japanese. Explaining these observations, Nakato and Roeper (2021) propose a three-step path in the acquisition of recursion: 1. Search for overt morphological elements 2. Search for overt lexical elements 3. The ability to interpret recursive structures without the presence of identical overt elements. In the recursive structure of the locatives of Persian, similar to Japanese and contrary to English, we witness an overt functional element: Ezafe. The presence of Ezafe in this structure qualifies as the first stage of the proposed acquisition path, and therefore it is predicted that the acquisition of recursive locatives in Persian will occur early. This article takes advantage of the presence of the overt element in Persian recursive locatives and by designing and implementing an experiment in accordance with the previous experiments, investigates the acquisition of locative recursion among Persian-speaking children and by means of the collected data examines the proposed acquisition path above.


Main Subjects

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