The goal of this dissertation is to ascertain the extent to which different types of displacement , as found in raising and unaccusative structures , are problematic in language acquisition . Syntactically , unaccusative and raising structures share the raising of their surface subject from a lower position up to a higher position . But raising verbs differ from unaccusatives in that raising verbs allow you to talk about realities that differ from your current one . Both subject displacement and the precise interpretational effects raising verbs have might cause trouble in acquisition . In order to understand the course of acquisition , this dissertation looks at two Dutch raising verbs in particular : schijnen and lijken ( both â seem â ) . It provides a definition of the evidential semantics of these verbs and looks at the effects of the particular semantics on processing in a self - paced reading experiment . In addition , by looking at processing of different types of intransitive verbs , this dissertation teases apart the effects of thematic role and syntactic structure on processing . To that end , an innovative version of the visual world experiment is used . The results demonstrate that unaccusative structures delay interpretation compared to unergative structures . Furthermore , children from the age of five already distinguish between unaccusatives and unergatives . Apparently , children from that age are already aware of the displaced subject in unaccusative verbs . Raising verbs on the other hand , are acquired at a later point in acquisition . Moreover , depending on the precise interpretational effects , differences in the timing of acquisition occur .