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  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In this paper, we investigate the development of dislocation structures in three French-Dutch bilingual children. Dislocations are a syntactic means of marking the element that is the topic of an utterance. As such, they constitute the interface between syntax and pragmatics, a domain that has been claimed to be vulnerable and open to cross-linguistic influence. The model of cross-linguistic influence developed by Hulk & Mueller (2000) and tested by us for dislocations in a French-Dutch context, would predict an overuse of right dislocations in the Dutch of bilingual children. This prediction was not borne out in our investigation. We suggest two explanations for this fact. First, we found that French and Dutch child directed speech contains more right dislocations than French and Dutch adult-to-adult speech. Second, Dutch monolingual children produce much more right dislocations than Dutch adults do. We suggest that both monolingual and bilingual children have a strong preference to mark the topic element in an utterance in a non-ambiguous way and that they therefore use a large quantity of right dislocations. This effect may mask possible cross-linguistic influences for this domain.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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