In this article, the authors discuss production data of bilingual children who are in a learning situation which has characteristics of both "pure" 2L1 and of child L2 acquisition. These bilingual subjects are born and live in the Netherlands in families which have a home language other than Dutch. Moreover, these families are part of (ethnic) minority communities which, at least for its older generations, do not speak Dutch very well. Although these children attend Dutch (pre)schools, there too they meet many other children from their ethnic community with whom they (can) communicate in a language other than Dutch. Although strictly speaking the children acquire two languages from birth, in the sense that they got input from both languages from birth onwards, the quality and the quantity of this input is not entirely clear, specifically in Dutch, the non-family language. This study compares these bilingual children with monolingual Dutch children in their acquisition of two phenomena in Dutch that in the literature are claimed to be related: DO-support and asymmetrical word order in root and non-root clauses. The aim is to get more insight in the phenomenon of cross-linguistic influence and its occurrences in this type of bilingual acquisition. In order to acquire the right word order in roots and non-roots in Dutch, monolingual and bilingual children appear to take different routes: the monolinguals struggle with the word order in roots, going through a (short) DO-support stage, whereas the bilinguals struggle with the word order in non-roots, going through an extended stage in which they produce a word order which could be qualified as qualitatively different from the one found in monolingual children.
Proceedings of the 7th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2004)
edited by Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex A. Sprouse, and Audrey Liljestrand
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