Russian noun pluralization in bilingual children: Evidence from four countries. Part 2. Quantitative analysis



Ключевые слова:

development of noun pluralization, early child bilingualism, Russian as the first language abroad, heritage speaker, acquisition difficulties, second language influence on the first language


In several countries Russian is spoken by a considerable percentage of the population. The Russian language has been influenced by a number of different languages from throughout the world. As a result, it is crucial to look into how the first language (L1) of a family interacts with the language of the environment
in early life and how this affects acquisition outcomes at different stages. This paper reports on a cross-sectional study of the acquisition of Russian plural morphology by preschool-age bilingual and monolingual children. The bilingual children speak Russian as their L1 and acquired English, Finnish, Hebrew or German as their early L2 around age 2 or 3. The L2s in this study belong to three typologically diverse groups. The results
of an elicitation study show that all children make qualitatively similar errors but that the Russian/English bilinguals make the most errors, possibly due to the fact that plural morphology in English is much more regular than that in Russian and the other languages in this study. This paper contributes to our understanding of childhood bilingualism; there have been relatively few studies of Russian in the bilingual context. The study is placed within the framework of bilingualism, heritage speakers, and child L2-acquisition. The theories
of how morphology develops in early sequential bilinguals / heritage speakers are put forth. Concrete predictions of particular theories are tested. The theoretical part shows how plurals are formed in Russian in contrast with other languages in this study. Our study purports to determine whether L2 affects L1 and makes the claim that availability of a grammar category in L2 is important for acquisition of that category in L1. The article actually consists of two parts, each dealing with qualitative and quantitative analysis, respectively.

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