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LINGUIST List 22.2561

Mon Jun 20 2011

Diss: Lang Acq: La Morgia: 'Bilingual First Language Acquisition...'

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        1.     Francesca La Morgia , Bilingual First Language Acquisition: The nature of the weak language and the role of the input

Message 1: Bilingual First Language Acquisition: The nature of the weak language and the role of the input
Date: 19-Jun-2011
From: Francesca La Morgia <f.lamorgiareading.ac.uk>
Subject: Bilingual First Language Acquisition: The nature of the weak language and the role of the input
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Institution: Dublin City University
Program: PhD in Applied Languages
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Francesca La Morgia

Dissertation Title: Bilingual First Language Acquisition: The nature of the
weak language and the role of the input

Dissertation URL: http://doras.dcu.ie/16056/

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): Italian (ita)


Dissertation Director(s):
Eithne Guilfoyle

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis investigates the development of the weak language in early bilingual
language acquisition and its results are based on longitudinal and experimental
data from 4 Italian-English bilingual children and their parents. The purpose of
this thesis is twofold: firstly, to present a new method to assess weak language
development and the role of the input in bilingual first language acquisition;
secondly, to determine whether there is a relationship between input, weak
language development and the acquisition of new information structure. The
factors included in the analysis of the weak language are rate of acquisition,
production of target-deviant forms, vocabulary, MLU and discourse pragmatics.
The results are summarised in the Weak Language Scale. The results are further
tested by examining longitudinal and experimental data which are used to test
the hypothesis that children who develop Italian as a weak language have
difficulty processing subject inversion structures, which require a high
processing load due to the interface between syntax and pragmatics. The results
of the Weak Language Scale are then compared to those of the Input Scale, which
represents the amount of qualitative and quantitative input each child has been
exposed to. The final results show that the input plays a major role in
bilingual first language acquisition and it has an effect on weak language
development. The findings also suggest that linguistic properties at the
interface between syntax and pragmatics are harder to process for children who
develop Italian as a weak language.

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