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Older age of onset in child L2 acquisition can be facilitative: evidence from the acquisition of English passives by Spanish natives

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Rothman, J., Long , D., Iverson, M., Judy, T., Lingwall, A. and Chakravarty, T. (2016) Older age of onset in child L2 acquisition can be facilitative: evidence from the acquisition of English passives by Spanish natives. Journal of Child Language, 43 (3). pp. 662-686. ISSN 0305-0009

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0305000915000549

Abstract/Summary

We report a longitudinal comprehension study of (long) passive constructions in two native-Spanish child groups differing by age of initial exposure to L2 English (young group: 3;0-4;0 years; older group: 6;0-7;0 years); where amount of input, L2 exposure environment, and socio-economic status are controlled. Data from a forced-choice task show that both groups comprehend active sentences, not passives, initially (after 3.6 years of exposure). One year later, both groups improve, but only the older group reaches ceiling on both actives and passives. Two years from initial testing, the younger group catches up. Input alone cannot explain why the younger group takes 5 years to accomplish what the older group does in 4. We claim that some properties take longer to acquire at certain ages because language development is partially constrained by general cognitive and linguistic development (e.g. de Villiers, 2007; Long & Rothman, 2014; Paradis, 2008, 2010, 2011; Tsimpli, 2014).

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
ID Code:43547
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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