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Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism

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ISSN 1879-9264
E-ISSN 1879-9272

<em>LAB</em> provides an outlet for cutting-edge, contemporary studies on bilingualism. <em>LAB</em> assumes a broad definition of bilingualism, including: adult L2 acquisition, simultaneous child bilingualism, child L2 acquisition, adult heritage speaker competence, L1 attrition in L2/Ln environments, and adult L3/Ln acquisition. <em>LAB</em> solicits high quality articles of original research assuming any cognitive science approach to understanding the mental representation of bilingual language competence and performance, including cognitive linguistics, emergentism/connectionism, generative theories, psycholinguistic and processing accounts, and covering typical and atypical populations.

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  • Pinning down the concept of “interface” in bilingualism
    • Author: Antonella Sorace
    • Source: Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2011, pages: 1 –33
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    • The ‘Interface Hypothesis’ (IH) was put forward by Sorace and colleagues as an attempt to account for patterns of non-convergence and residual optionality found at very advanced stages of adult second (L2)acquisition. The IH originally proposed that language structures involving an interface between syntax and other cognitive domains are less likely to be acquired completely than structures that do not involve this interface. At the same time, the IH was extended to bilingual first language (L1) acquisition and to the very early stages of L1 attrition, which exhibit optionality in precisely the same structures: this provides a unifying framework for the study of bilingual language development. This paper selectively reviews the research on the IH, addressing some common misinterpretations and outlining the most recent interdisciplinary developments.
  • Individual differences in child English second language acquisition: Comparing child-internal and child-external factors
    • Author: Johanne Paradis
    • Source: Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Volume 1, Issue 3, 2011, pages: 213 –237
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    • This study investigated how various child-internal and child-external factors predict English L2 children’s acquisition outcomes for vocabulary size and accuracy with verb morphology. The children who participated (N=169) were between 4;10 and 7;0 years old (mean = 5;10), had between 3 to 62 months of exposure to English (mean = 20 months), and were from newcomer families to Canada. Results showed that factors such as language aptitude (phonological short term memory and analytic reasoning), age, L1 typology, length of exposure to English, and richness of the child’s English environment were significant predictors of variation in children’s L2 outcomes. However, on balance, child-internal factors explained more of the variance in outcomes than child-external factors. Relevance of these findings for Usage-Based theory of language acquisition is discussed.
  • Differential effects of internal and external factors on the development of vocabulary, tense morphology and morpho-syntax in successive bilingual children
    • Authors: Vasiliki Chondrogianni, and Theodoros Marinis
    • Source: Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Volume 1, Issue 3, 2011, pages: 318 –345
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    • The present study investigates the effects of child internal (age/time) and child external/environmental factors on the development of a wide range of language domains in successive bilingual (L2) Turkish-English children of homogeneously low SES. Forty-three L2 children were tested on standardized assessments examining the acquisition of vocabulary and morpho-syntax. The L2 children exhibited a differential acquisition of the various domains: they were better on the general comprehension of grammar and tense morphology and less accurate on the acquisition of vocabulary and (complex) morpho-syntax. Profile effects were confirmed by the differential effects of internal and external factors on the language domains. The development of vocabulary and complex syntax were affected by internal and external factors, whereas external factors had no contribution to the development of tense morphology. These results are discussed in light of previous studies on the impact of internal and external factors in child L2 acquisition.
  • What’s so incomplete about incomplete acquisition?: A prolegomenon to modeling heritage language grammars
    • Authors: Michael T. Putnam, and Liliana Sánchez
    • Source: Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Volume 3, Issue 4, 2013, pages: 478 –508
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    • Modeling the competence grammar of heritage speakers who exhibit low proficiency in their L1 represents a significant challenge for generative and experimental approaches to bilingual linguistic research. In this paper we revisit the core tenets of the incomplete acquisition hypothesis as developed in recent scholarship (in particular by Montrul (2002 et seq.) and Polinsky (1997, 2006)). Although we adopt many of these fundamental aspects of this research program, in this article we develop an alternative model that provides a more accurate depiction of the process that leads to what these scholars describe as the (later) effects of incomplete acquisition, thus improving the predictive power of this research program.
  • The role of language processing in language acquisition
    • Authors: Colin Phillips, and Lara Ehrenhofer
    • Source: Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Volume 5, Issue 4, 2015, pages: 409 –453
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    • Language processing research is changing in two ways that should make it more relevant to the study of grammatical learning. First, grammatical phenomena are re-entering the psycholinguistic fray, and we have learned a lot in recent years about the real-time deployment of grammatical knowledge. Second, psycholinguistics is reaching more diverse populations, leading to much research on language processing in child and adult learners. We discuss three ways that language processing can be used to understand language acquisition. Level 1 approaches (“Processing in learners”) explore well-known phenomena from the adult psycholinguistic literature and document how they play out in learner populations (child learners, adult learners, bilinguals). Level 2 approaches (“Learning effects as processing effects”) use insights from adult psycholinguistics to understand the language proficiency of learners. We argue that a rich body of findings that have been attributed to the grammatical development of anaphora should instead be attributed to limitations in the learner’s language processing system. Level 3 approaches (“Explaining learning via processing”) use language processing to understand what it takes to successfully master the grammar of a language, and why different learner groups are more or less successful. We examine whether language processing may explain why some grammatical phenomena are mastered late in children but not in adult learners. We discuss the idea that children’s language learning prowess is directly caused by their processing limitations (‘less is more’: Newport, 1990). We conclude that the idea is unlikely to be correct in its original form, but that a variant of the idea has some promise (‘less is eventually more’). We lay out key research questions that need to be addressed in order to resolve the issues addressed in the paper.
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