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The acquisition of English possessives by a bilingual child: Do input and usage frequency matter?

  • Elena BABATSOULI (a1) and Elena NICOLADIS (a2)

Previous research in child language shows that many aspects of language acquisition are frequency-linked. This study tests whether input or usage frequency predicts the order of acquisition and accuracy of a bilingual Greek–English child's English possessives. The child was followed longitudinally from age 2;6 to 3;11. Order of acquisition was comparable to that of same-aged monolingual children. The child's usage frequency and order of acquisition were highly correlated with input frequency, while her accuracy was not. We argue that the child's already-acquired Greek possessives facilitated acquisition of English possessives, even though the child's English input and usage frequencies were lower than in monolingual English children.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Elena Nicoladis, Psychology, Faculty of Science, University of Alberta, 116 St. and 85 Ave., Edmonton, AB, T6 G 2R3, Canada. E-mail:
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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
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