New paper showing that bilingual English-Dutch children sometimes accept V2 in English, especially when they have more exposure to Dutch

Jasmijn Bosch (University Milano Bicocca) and I have a new paper on cross-linguistic influence, which has just been accepted for publication in Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. In this study, we find both quantitative and qualitative differences between bilingual children and their monolingual peers. More specifically, we find that bilingual English-Dutch children accept ungrammatical V2 sentences more readily than monolingual children. Both accept V2 with auxiliary verbs (e.g., “In the morning is she eating an apple”) — and yes, we have an explanation for what at first blush seems like rather strange behaviour from the monolinguals — but the bilingual children do this more often. And they accept V2 with main verbs (e.g., “In the morning eats she an apple”), something which monolingual children never do. We argue that these results show that cross-linguistic influence can take place independent of surface overlap (something which has been found before, e.g., Strik & Pérez-Leroux, 2011; Nicoladis, 2012). The magnitude of such influence was predicted by language dominance (measured as relative exposure to Dutch) but not by age. Some bilinguals accepted V2 in English at age 10, suggesting that cross-linguistic influence may be more persistent than previously thought. We discuss how we can account for these data using a structural priming account (Hartsuiker et al., 2004; Serratrice, 2016).

This study is Jasmijn’s first publication, coming out of the internship she did with us at the 2in1 project in 2017-2018, although the data were collected much earlier as part of a project I ran when I was at Utrecht University and at the Meertens Institute. It’s been great to finally get these data analysed and it was an absolute pleasure to work with Jasmijn!

You can find a pre-print version of the manuscript here.