Phenomenes interlinguistiques en acquisition de la L1 bilingue: Etude de cas

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This case study's main purpose is to observe and describe interlinguistic phenomena in a French- English bilingual preschooler acquiring both languages simultaneously since birth in a familial setting. Particular attention is given to interlinguistic phenomena found in French context, the minority language. Two types of analyses were performed: a sociolinguistic analysis which addresses lexical mixing in the form of English utterances and mixed English-French utterances produced by the child in French context; a linguistic analysis which addresses syntactic mixing, namely, relative order of lexical verb and negation particle within the verb phrase. To verify the claim that parental strategies have an effect on rate of lexical mixing, child's reactions to each type of parental strategies were analysed and overall mixing rates were calculated for each period. Lexical mixing decreased during the period studied, although the changes were more pronounced in the case of English utterances than mixed English-French utterances. Strategies did not have the effect proposed in the literature on the child's subsequent speech turn. Results are discussed in relation to the sociolinguistic context in the family, taking into account the parental role in both the child active bilingualism and the development of minority language. In order to examine whether the development of contrasting grammatical structures proceeds as one system, two autonomous systems, or two dependant systems, negation word order was analysed. Error rate were similar to those reported in the literature. However, when lexical diversity of verbs was taken into account, error rate became significantly higher. Error rate also increased over time. However, when verbal flexion productivity was taken into account, the rate of error decreased overtime. Development of negation placement appears to proceed in a slow, gradual, verb-specific fashion. It is suggested that initial correct negative structures may not be in fact the reflection of the child's true morphological knowledge of +/- finite. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the three hypotheses concerning bilingual development and the status more or less permanent of interlinguistic phenomena.

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Department of French - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)