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Auteur: Sviatlana KARPAVA

Co-Auteur(s): Kleanthes GROHMANN, University of Cyprus, Cyprus

Object Clitic Placement by Bilingual Russian-Cypriot Greek children

Abstract/Résumé: The present study investigates the acqusition of object clitics by bilingual Russian-Cypriot Greek children. It is known that there are differences in object clitic placement in Cypriot Greek and Standard Modern Greek. In CG indicative declarative clauses clitics should be placed post-verbally (enclisis), while in SMG they occur pre-verbally (proclisis). This study aims to compare object clitic production of bilingual and monolingual groups in two elicitation tasks, and by so doing also the performance results of the two tests: the CG adaptation of the clitics-in-islands tool (COST Action A33; Varlokosta eta al., to appear) and the PPPC tool (Tuller et al. 2011). 18 bilingual Russian-CG children participated in the study, all born in Cyprus and residing in the Larnaca district. They represent four age groups 4, 5, 6, 7-year olds. The Developmental Verbal IQ test (DVIQ), slightly adapted to CG from Stavrakaki and Tsimpli's (2000) SMG original, was administered to all participating children in order to assess their proficiency in the Greek language. The analysis and the comparison of the results of the two tests show that the Russian-CG bilingual children produced more clitic than non-clitic sentences, but also that the clitic-in-islands tool elicited more clitics in bilingual children (82%) than the PPPC tool did (51%). There was no great difference between the two tools in terms of post-verbal clitic placement (12% for the clitic-in-islands tool and 16% for the PPPC tool). Null production and substitution of object clitics by NPs was more common in the PPPC tool (24% and 20%, respectively) than in the clitics-in-islands tool (4% and 6%). The correlation between age, schooling factor, DVIQ scores, and object clitic production revealed in both tests supports the Socio-Syntax of Development Hypothesis (Grohmannn, 2010-2012). The age group 6;0-6;11 had the highest rate of clitic production. Furthermore, the primary school children outperformed the kindergarten and the pre-primary bilingual children in clitic production and pre-verbal clitic placement. The children with high DVIQ scores had the best clitic production and high rate of proclisis.