Input effects across domains: The case of Greek subjects in child heritage language

Evangelia Daskalaki, Vasiliki Chondrogianni, Elma Blom, Froso Argyri, Johanne Paradis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A recurring question in the literature of heritage language acquisition, and more generally of bilingual acquisition, is whether all linguistic domains are sensitive to input reduction and to cross-linguistic influence and to what extent. According to the Interface Hypothesis, morphosyntactic phenomena regulated by discourse-pragmatic conditions are more likely to lead to non-native outcomes than strictly syntactic aspects of the language (Sorace, 2011). To test this hypothesis, we examined subject realisation and placement in Greek-English bilingual children learning Greek as a heritage language in North America and investigated whether the amount of heritage language use can predict their performance in syntax-discourse and narrow syntactic contexts. Results indicated two deviations from the Interface Hypothesis: First, subject realisation (a syntax-discourse phenomenon) was found to be largely unproblematic. Second, subject placement was affected not only in syntax-discourse structures but also in narrow syntactic structures, though to a lesser degree, suggesting that the difference between syntax discourse and narrow syntactic phenomena with respect to their sensitivity to input reduction is gradient rather than categorical.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-445
Number of pages25
JournalSecond Language Research
Volume35
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Keywords

  • child heritage language acquisition
  • heritage language use
  • input and output effect
  • Interface Hypothesis
  • syntax-discourse interface
  • narrow syntax
  • subject use in Greek

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