Morphosyntactic priming in bilingual children

Date
2011-05
Authors
Fitzpatrick, Kerry Elisabeth
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Abstract

Limited information exists regarding the acquisition of syntax and morphology in young Spanish-English bilingual language learners. A method to measure short-term language learning is through structural priming; an auditory model of the target structure is presented, which influences a subject’s subsequent production. The purpose of this thesis was to develop and pilot priming tasks in both English and Spanish to analyze the language production of typically developing bilingual elementary school students. The morphosyntactic structures targeted in the structural priming task included the third person singular and past tense in English, as well as direct object clitics and imperfect tense in Spanish. The study included three participants, aged 4;7, 6;7, and 10;11. Results revealed that bilingual elementary students with varied language exposure are influenced and learn from morphosyntactic priming.

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