Skip to main content
×
Home

Competing language structures: the acquisition of verb placement by bilingual German-English children

  • SUSANNE DÖPKE (a1)
    • Published online: 01 October 1998
Abstract

The simultaneous acquisition of two languages in early childhood presents an interesting test case for language acquisition theories. Children in bilingual environments receive input which could potentially lead to output systems different to those of monolingual children. The speech of three bilingual German-English children was recorded monthly between the ages of 2;0 and 5;0. The analysis of word order in the verb phrase shows that initial structural separation was followed by an extended period of non-target structures in German before the children eventually worked out which structures overlap and which structures differentiate the two languages. The bilingual data point towards language being acquired incrementally, on the basis of cue strength and cue cost. It is suggested that the partially overlapping structures in the input from German and English create structural saliencies for the child before they are functionally accessible. Functional identification eventually leads to structural separation.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Susanne Döpke, Department of Linguistics, Monash University, Clayton VIC 3168, Australia. e-mail: susanne.dopke@arts.monash.edu.au
Footnotes
Hide All
The project has been funded by ARC Small Grants in 1992, 1994 (Melbourne University) and 1995 (Monash University). Since mid-1994 I have been an ARC Fellow. I gratefully acknowledge this support. My thanks go to the families who participated in the study, and my research assistants Angelika Roethgen, Irmi Gürtler, Katja Goodall and Fiona Salmon, Brian MacWhinney, Michael Clyne, Simone Duxbury and the anonymous reviewers who offered helpful comments at various stages of the manuscript.
Footnotes
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 218 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 515 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.