According to the 'early differentiation of languages hypothesis' and the 'cross-linguistic influence hypothesis', children acquiring two languages with different syntactic systems should be able to distinguish them from the beginning, and yet one language could greatly influence the other if two modules of grammar are involved. An experimental study with monolingual Ukrainian and bilingual English-Ukrainian children shows that both hypotheses are relevant in the Ukrainian scrambling acquisition by bilingual English-Ukrainian children. The results also suggest that the process of word order acquisition follows at least two stages, and each of them should be evaluated separately. At the early stage, bilingual children follow monolingual syntactic patterns in Ukrainian, but later in their development, they prefer the basic SVO word order due to the influence of the dominant and more restricted language -- English.
Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2008)
edited by Jean Crawford, Koichi Otaki, and Masahiko Takahashi
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