Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2542-3835
  • E-ISSN: 2542-3843
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Recent models of third language acquisition (L3A) propose that previous linguistic knowledge largely has a facilitative effect. That is, either typological proximity or linguistic similarity will mostly lead to facilitation and the patterns of non-facilitation will be rather subtle. The present study investigates whether Danish-Russian bilingual children may overcome difficulties associated with knowing Russian, an article-less language, and benefit from knowing Danish when learning L3 English. To isolate the effects of each language we use a subtractive language groups design and compare article use in bilinguals and two control groups (L1 Russian-L2 English and L1 Danish-L2 English children). The results of a forced choice elicitation task show that the use of articles is near target-like in Danish-Russian and L1 Danish children and that bilinguals outperform L1 Russian children. A detailed investigation of article use, misuse and omission errors also suggests that non-facilitation from Russian is virtually non-existent. Thus, young bilinguals can successfully transfer article semantics from Danish at early stages of L3A.


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