Internal and External Factors in Child Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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Recent research has shown that children who learn Dutch as their second language (L2) have difficulties with Dutch grammatical gender. This study shows that six to nine year old L2 Dutch children whose first language (L1) is Turkish noticed incorrect gender agreement between determiner and noun only if gender was marked on the noun. The L1 Turkish L2 Dutch children made more errors with determiner-noun agreement than monolingual L1 controls with matching language abilities. Unlike monolingual controls, L2 children’s accuracy with determiner-noun agreement was not facilitated by word frequency and vocabulary size. Children in both groups made fewer errors with neuter nouns if a cue on the noun marked a noun’s gender. We conclude that there is an asymmetry between L2 children’s processing and production of determiner-noun agreement, that grammatical gender develops gradually and that L2 children’s delay is rather caused by external factors related to a heterogeneous language environment than by internal factors


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