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Languages 2018, 3(4), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3040040

Language Interaction in Emergent Grammars: Morphology and Word Order in Bilingual Children’s Code-Switching

1
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, University of Tartu, 50090 Tartu, Estonia
2
Department of Language and Linguistics, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Code-Switching)
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Abstract

This paper examines the morphological integration of nouns in bilingual children’s code-switching to investigate whether children adhere to constraints posited for adult code-switching. The changing nature of grammars in development makes the Matrix Language Frame a moving target; permeability between languages in bilinguals undermines the concept of a monolingual grammatical frame. The data analysed consist of 630 diary entries with code-switching and structural transfer from two children (aged 2;10–7;2 and 6;6–11;0) bilingual in Estonian and English, languages which differ in morphological richness and the inflectional role of stem changes. The data reveal code-switching with late system morphemes, variability in stem selection and word order incongruence. Constituent order is analysed in utterances with and without code-switching, and the frame is shown to draw sometimes on both languages, raising questions about the MLF, which is meant to derive from the grammar of one language. If clauses without code-switched elements display non-standard morpheme order, then there is no reason to expect code-switching to follow a standard order, nor is it reasonable to assume a monolingual target grammar. Complex morphological integration of code-switches and interaction between the two languages are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: code-switching; bilingual acquisition; language interaction; MLF; System Morpheme Principle; Morpheme Order Principle code-switching; bilingual acquisition; language interaction; MLF; System Morpheme Principle; Morpheme Order Principle
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Vihman, V.-A. Language Interaction in Emergent Grammars: Morphology and Word Order in Bilingual Children’s Code-Switching. Languages 2018, 3, 40.

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