Subject pronouns in bilinguals

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Longitudinal data from two Dutch-Italian bilinguals show that third person subject pronouns are not acquired before the age of 3;1 and that the usage of these pronouns does not always converge with the monolingual target. This paper accounts for this acquisitional delay by integrating Müller and Hulk (2001) and Serratrice et al.’s (2004) core insights on crosslinguistic influence in bilingual language acquisition with a global maturational view as proposed in Van Kampen (2004). As for the observed bilinguals’ difficulty in anaphora resolution, we speculate on the existence of an economy principle that might be part of the Language Acquisition Device and guide children’s choices in cases of ambiguity in language.


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