The acquisition of verbal paradigms in Dutch and Greek L2 children: Cross-linguistic differences and inflectional defaults

Elma Blom*, Vicky Chondrogianni, Theodoros Marinis, Nada Vasic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous research with children learning a second language (L2) has reported errors with verb inflection and cross-linguistic variation in accuracy and error patterns. However, owing to the cross-linguistic complexity and diversity of different verbal paradigms, the cross-linguistic effects on the nature of default forms has not been directly addressed in L2 acquisition studies. In the present study, we compared accuracy and error patterns in verbal agreement inflections in L2 children acquiring Dutch and Greek, keeping the children’s L1 constant (Turkish). Results showed that inflectional defaults in Greek follow universal predictions regarding the morphological underspecification of paradigms. However, the same universal predictions do not apply to the same extent to Dutch. It is argued that phonological properties of inflected forms should be taken into account to explain cross-linguistic differences in the acquisition of inflection. By systematically comparing patterns in child L2 Dutch and Greek, this study shows how universal mechanisms and target language properties work in tandem in the acquisition of inflectional paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-402
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
Volume20
Issue number4
Early online date23 Oct 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

Keywords

  • Child second language
  • default
  • Dutch
  • Greek
  • inflection
  • underspecification

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