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Open AccessArticle

Regular and Irregular Inflection in Different Groups of Bilingual Children and the Role of Verbal Short-Term and Verbal Working Memory

by 1,2,*, 1,3,4 and 4
1
Department of Education and Pedagogy, Development and Education of Youth in Diverse Societies (DEEDS), Utrecht University, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
2
Department of Language and Culture, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
3
Centre for Linguistics, Leiden University, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
4
Department of Linguistics, Fryske Akademy, 8911 DX Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Languages 2021, 6(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010056
Received: 22 December 2020 / Revised: 9 March 2021 / Accepted: 12 March 2021 / Published: 22 March 2021
Bilingual children often experience difficulties with inflectional morphology. The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate how regularity of inflection in combination with verbal short-term and working memory (VSTM, VWM) influences bilingual children’s performance. Data from 231 typically developing five- to eight-year-old children were analyzed: Dutch monolingual children (N = 45), Frisian-Dutch bilingual children (N = 106), Turkish-Dutch bilingual children (N = 31), Tarifit-Dutch bilingual children (N = 38) and Arabic-Dutch bilingual children (N = 11). Inflection was measured with an expressive morphology task. VSTM and VWM were measured with a Forward and Backward Digit Span task, respectively. The results showed that, overall, children performed more accurately at regular than irregular forms, with the smallest gap between regulars and irregulars for monolinguals. Furthermore, this gap was smaller for older children and children who scored better on a non-verbal intelligence measure. In bilingual children, higher accuracy at using (irregular) inflection was predicted by a smaller cross-linguistic distance, a larger amount of Dutch at home, and a higher level of parental education. Finally, children with better VSTM, but not VWM, were more accurate at using regular and irregular inflection. View Full-Text
Keywords: child bilingualism; inflectional morphology; nouns; verbs; plurals; participles; regularity; verbal short-term memory; verbal working memory child bilingualism; inflectional morphology; nouns; verbs; plurals; participles; regularity; verbal short-term memory; verbal working memory
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MDPI and ACS Style

Blom, E.; Bosma, E.; Heeringa, W. Regular and Irregular Inflection in Different Groups of Bilingual Children and the Role of Verbal Short-Term and Verbal Working Memory. Languages 2021, 6, 56. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010056

AMA Style

Blom E, Bosma E, Heeringa W. Regular and Irregular Inflection in Different Groups of Bilingual Children and the Role of Verbal Short-Term and Verbal Working Memory. Languages. 2021; 6(1):56. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010056

Chicago/Turabian Style

Blom, Elma; Bosma, Evelyn; Heeringa, Wilbert. 2021. "Regular and Irregular Inflection in Different Groups of Bilingual Children and the Role of Verbal Short-Term and Verbal Working Memory" Languages 6, no. 1: 56. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010056

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