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Dislocations in French–English bilingual children: An elicitation study*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2015

University of Manchester, Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7
University of Manchester
University of Edinburgh
Address for correspondence: Dr Ludovica Serratrice, The University of Manchester, School of Psychological Sciences, Ellen Wilkinson Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13


This paper presents the results of two sentence production studies addressing the role of language exposure, prior linguistic modelling and discourse-pragmatic appropriateness on the phenomenon of cross-linguistic influence (CLI) in bilingual 5-year-olds. We investigated whether French–English bilingual children would be as likely as monolingual children to use a left-dislocation structure in the description of a target scene. We also examined whether input quantity played a role in the degree of accessibility of these syntactic constructions across languages. While the results indicate a significant effect of elicitation condition only in French, the relative amount of language exposure in each language predicted the likelihood of producing a left-dislocation in both French and English. These findings make a new contribution to the role of language exposure as a predictor of CLI. The data also support the recent proposal that CLI arises out of processing mechanisms.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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We gratefully acknowledge the staff and children at Collège Bilingue Français de Londres, La Petite Ecole Bilingue (London and Paris), L’Ermitage (Paris), Beaver School (Manchester) and L’Ecole Maternelle rue Saint-Jacques (Paris) for their enthusiastic collaboration.


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