Gender marking in L2 learners and Italian-German bilinguals with German as the weaker language

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This paper explores mastery of grammatical gender in German as weaker and dominant language by Italian-German adult simultaneous bilingual speakers as well as highly proficient L2 learners of German with Italian as their L1. Data show that in both bilinguals and L2ers deviances from the target predominantly occur in gender assignment, whereas errors of agreement are infrequent in both groups, indicating that deficiency affects the lexical level rather than morpho-syntax. Ceiling performance of the bilingual speakers in German as dominant language suggests that native-like attainment is possible in simultaneous bilingual acquisition but only under the condition that early Age of Onset (AoO) coincides with sufficient input.


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