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Intonation and Prosodic Structure

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Academic Paper


Title: Subject realization in early Hebrew/English bilingual acquisition: The role of crosslinguistic influence
Author: Aviya Hacohen
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Author: Jeannette C. Schaeffer
Institution: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology; Pragmatics; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Hebrew
Abstract: This study reports on the use of (c)overt subjects and subject–verb agreement in Hebrew in the spontaneous speech of a child, EK, acquiring Hebrew and English simultaneously from birth and of five slightly younger Hebrew monolingual controls. Analysis shows that EK's production of pragmatically inappropriate overt subjects is more than three times that of the controls, while she resembles the controls in terms of subject–verb agreement, a purely syntactic phenomenon. These results strongly suggest that influence from English is restricted to phenomena that involve the syntax/pragmatics interface, supporting Hulk and Müller's (2000) hypothesis that crosslinguistic influence in early bilingual acquisition is a predictable and systematic phenomenon.

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This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 10, Issue 3.

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