Cross-linguistic influence in word order
Effects of age, dominance and surface overlap
The present study investigated cross-linguistic influence (CLI) in the word order of Dutch-English bilingual children, using elicited production and acceptability judgment tasks. The goal was to examine whether monolingual and bilingual children produced and/or accepted V2 word orders in English, as in * Yesterday painted she an apple. We investigated whether the likelihood of CLI was related to language dominance, age at testing, and the degree of surface overlap (i.e., V2 word orders with auxiliaries versus main verbs).Even though none of the participants produced V2 word orders in English, in the acceptability judgment task bilingual children were more likely to accept V2 word orders than monolingual peers. Whilst monolinguals sometimes accepted V2 word orders with auxiliaries, bilinguals did so significantly more often (constituting a quantitative difference) and with main verbs, too (implying a qualitative difference). Therefore, we conclude that CLI can occur independently of surface overlap and that it can lead to both quantitative and qualitative differences between bilinguals and monolinguals. The likelihood of CLI was predicted by language dominance, but not by age. Some bilinguals still accepted V2 word orders at age ten, suggesting that in some cases CLI may be more persistent than previously thought.
Keywords: cross-linguistic influence, bilingual children, effects of language dominance and age, surface overlap, V2 word order
Published online: 12 May 2020
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