Contradictory parameter settings in one mind

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This paper reports a case study of Mandarin-Norwegian bilingual boy born into a Mandarin-speaking immigrant family in Norway. Mandarin and Norwegian are typologically distinct languages and presumably have contradictory parameters in the domains of finiteness and word order, the focal areas of the present study. The study explores whether there is cross-linguistic influence in the domains of finiteness and word order, leading the Mandarin-Norwegian bilingual child to lengthy periods of ungrammatical outcomes in Norwegian or a path of acquisition distinguishable from that of monolingual Norwegian children in relevant respects. The data are drawn from 5 files of a longitudinal corpus, when the boy was aged between 5;11 and 6;11. The production data indicate that the informant has essentially the same type of abstract linguistic system as Norwegian monolinguals, though limited cross-linguistic influence can be observed in word order and in markings of M-finiteness (i.e. morphological finiteness expressed as verbal inflection; term due to Lasser, 1997: 77).


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