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Academic Paper


Title: Crosslinguistic influence in bilingual acquisition: subject omission in learners of Inuktitut and English
Author: Elizabeth E Zwanziger
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Northern Iowa
Author: Shanley E. M. Shanley
Institution: Boston University
Author: Fred Genesee
Institution: McGill University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This study investigates subject omission in six English-Inuktitut simultaneous bilingual children, aged 1;8–3;9, to examine whether there are cross-language influences in their language development. Previous research with other language pairs has shown that the morphosyntax of one language can influence the development of morphosyntax in the other language. Most of this research has focused on Romance-Germanic language combinations using case studies. In this study, we examined a language pair (English-Inuktitut) with radically different morphosyntactic structures. Analysis of the English-only and Inuktitut-only utterances of the children revealed monolingual-like acquisition patterns and subject omission rates. The data indicate that these bilingual children possessed knowledge of the target languages that was language-specific and that previously identified triggers for crosslinguistic influence do not operate universally.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 32, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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