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Age and input effects in the acquisition of mood in Heritage Portuguese*

  • CRISTINA FLORES (a1), ANA LÚCIA SANTOS (a2), ALICE JESUS (a2) and RUI MARQUES (a2)

Abstract

The present study analyzes the effect of age and amount of input in the acquisition of European Portuguese as a heritage language. An elicited production task centred on mood choice in complement clauses was applied to a group of fifty bilingual children (six- to sixteen-year-olds) who are acquiring Portuguese as a minority language in a German dominant environment. The results show a significant effect of the age at testing and the amount of input in the acquisition of the subjunctive. In general, acquisition is delayed with respect to monolinguals, even though higher convergence with the monolingual grammar is observed after twelve years of age. Results also reveal that children with more exposure to the heritage language at home show faster acquisition than children from mixed households: the eight- to nine-year-old age boundary seems relevant for those speakers with more exposure, and the twelve- to thirteen-year-old age boundary for those with less exposure.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Cristina Flores, Departamento de Estudos Germanísticos e Eslavos, Instituto de Letras e Ciências Humanas, Universidade do Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710 Braga / Portugal. e-mail: cflores@ilch.uminho.pt

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[*]

This work was developed at Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa, within the project Complement Clauses in the Acquisition of Portuguese (CLAP), PTDC/CLE-LIN/120897/2010, funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). We are grateful to Isabel Henriques, teacher of Portuguese Heritage Language at Hamburg, and to the Rudolph-Ross Grundschule, where the data were also collected.

Footnotes

References

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Age and input effects in the acquisition of mood in Heritage Portuguese*

  • CRISTINA FLORES (a1), ANA LÚCIA SANTOS (a2), ALICE JESUS (a2) and RUI MARQUES (a2)

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