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Academic Paper


Title: Bilingualism as a window into the language faculty: The acquisition of objects in French-speaking children in bilingual and monolingual contexts
Author: Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://individual.utoronto.ca/perezleroux/
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Mihaela Pirvulescu
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Yves Roberge
Institution: University of Toronto
Linguistic Field: Lexicography; Syntax
Abstract: Where do the two languages of the bilingual child interact? The literature has debated whether bilingual children have delays in the acquisition of direct objects. The variety of methods and languages involved have prevented clear conclusions. In a transitivity-based approach, null objects are a default structural possibility, present in all languages. Since the computation of lexical and syntactic transitivity depends on lexical acquisition, we propose a default retention hypothesis, predicting that bilingual children retain default structures for aspects of syntactic development specifically linked to lexical development (such as objects). Children acquiring French (aged 3;0–4;2, N = 34) in a monolingual context and a French/English bilingual context participated in a study eliciting optional and obligatory direct objects. The results show significant differences between the rates of omissions in the two groups for both types of objects. We consider two models of how the bilingual lexicon may determine the timetable of development of transitivity.

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This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 12, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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