Internal and External Factors in Child Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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This paper studies the development of the German determiner phrase (DP) in 60 child second-language (L2) learners of German between the ages of 3;5 and 7;0. We consider case and gender marking as well as gender concord and test for effects of internal (age, age of onset) and external (length of exposure) factors. Further, developmental patterns are compared between child L1 and L2 acquisition. The results show no contingency of child L2 performance and age factors, yet strong correlations with length of exposure. Like child L1 acquirers, child L2 learners are found to proceed through similar developmental stages, and they establish lexical gender distinctions before syntactic case distinctions in inflection. These findings are discussed in the context of current generative approaches and the role of age in child and adult L2 acquisition.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): age effects; child L2 acquisition; critical period; determiner phrase; input; morphosyntax
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