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The development of copula and auxiliary <i>be</i> and overgeneration of <i>be</i> in child L2 English

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Abstract

This articles examines an asymmetry in the acquisition of copula and auxiliary<i>be </i>in a longitudinal corpus of English-acquiring consecutive bilinguals (ages 6;4–9;2). I argue that a delay in the productive use of auxiliary <i>be </i>vis-à-vis the copula can be explained under a theory of early L2 grammar that assumes an underspecified AspP. If aspectual features are taken to be underspecified in the initial state, structures requiring aspectual specification are expected to appear in a non-finite form (bare <i>-ing </i>or bare stem). These predictions are borne out in the L2 data as -<i>ing </i>forms and bare stems occur in non-finite and often aspectually inappropriate contexts and that the aspectual errors occur while the copula is used in an adult-like way.

References

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