Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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In this study we consider the role of cross-linguistic influence in the domain of wh-movement and subject-verb inversion in children simultaneously acquiring Dutch and French, two typologically different languages. Wh-questions were elicited in Dutch by means of an elicited production task. The participants consisted of 5- and 7-year-old Dutch-French bilingual children, and two control groups of monolingual Dutch children and adults (N = 46). Target-like wh-fronted questions with subject-verb inversion formed the majority of responses. However, two qualitatively different structures were produced as a result of transfer from French: wh-in-situ questions and wh-fronted questions without inversion. Structural overlap approaches to transfer can predict cross-linguistic influence from the language with more structural options (French) to the one with only one interrogative construction (Dutch). However, we argue that a complexity-based theory of transfer provides a better account for the presence of the attested structures than a structural overlap approach.


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