Retour vers liste

Détail de la contribution

Auteur: Maria-José EZEIZABARRENA

Co-Auteur(s): Maialen IRAOLA University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain & Universität Konstanz, Germany; Amaia MUNARRIZ, University of the Basque Country, Spain

Some morphosyntactic specificities in the early Basque of simultaneous and successive bilinguals

Abstract/Résumé: Child L2 acquisition (cL2) shares some features with monolingual and bilingual first language acquisition (2)L1, but at the same time resembles those of adult second language acquisition. However, results do not always converge with regard to the specificities of (2)L1-, and cL2 patterns in a specific domain. In Basque, an ergative, null S(ubject) language with very free word order, overt arguments and/or S-verb agreement as well as case morphology are relevant for agent/patient distinctions, as Ss of transitive predicates are overtly marked, whereas objects and Ss of intransitive predicates are zero-marked. The high frequency of null S has been considered a potential cause of the delay in the production of ergative marking of S in early (2)L1 and cL2, which contrasts with children’s ability to produce S marking on the verb inflection. In addition, the non-target performance on relative clauses in child L1 and agrammatism emphasizes the relevance of the morphological component for mastering relative clauses. This research focuses on the study of cL2 by comparing results of a variety of studies. Results from ((2)L1) children acquiring Basque as first language together with Spanish versus children firstly exposed to it after age 2 or 3 (cL2), confirm the existence of different developmental patterns, in line with Meisel (2007, 2011). First, data from a PST show that 6-7-year-old L2 children display higher acceptance of overt S pronouns than L1 children, confirming results of bilingual children (Serratrice 2007). Second, results from a story retelling task by 5-to 8-year-olds report that (a) 5-year-old cL2ers produce more overt Ss than same-age 2L1 children and that (b) cL2 8 year-olds still remain at the optional ergative stage, passed through by (2)L1 children by age 4 (Barreña 1995). Finally, data on relative clauses produced in developing and impaired grammars shows that the difficulties observed, mostly with object relatives, are due to a morphological deficit rather than to a syntactic one. Linguistic phenomena at the syntax-discourse and the syntax-morphology interface seem to support the Interface hypothesis (Sorace & Filiaci 2006), according to which, there is an asynchronous development between narrow syntax and interface properties involving syntax and other cognitive domains. Since even 5-year-old L1 children’s performance is not completely adultlike, this paper provides new evidence on the debate whether it is AoA or the amount of exposure to each language that causes the different patterns in early language acquisition.