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The emergence of a new variety of Russian in a language contact situation

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Abstract

Simultaneous acquisition of two mother tongues is usually not discussed in terms of language contact. This might reflect the fact that the two languages are believed to develop independently of each other, which is known as The Autonomous Development Hypothesis that implies that bilingual children behave like monolinguals in each of their languages. Given this claim, a child who acquires two mother tongues simultaneously is expected to develop similarly to monolingual children of the respective languages. In this paper we attempt to test this claim on the acquisition of negation by a Russian-Swedish bilingual child and to show that the languages may not develop as independently from each other as was previously assumed. Rather, they develop in permanent interaction, where especially the weaker language (L1weak) is influenced by a stronger one (L1strong), which lead to the development of a totally new variety of Russian in this contact situation.

References

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