The Linguistic Proximity Model: The case of verb-second revisited
Conference paper by Roksolana Mykhaylyk, Natalia Mitrofanova, Yulia Rodina and Marit Westergaard in Bucld 39: Proceedings of the 39th Boston University Conference on Language Development, 2015.
This study investigates cross-linguistic influence in multilingual (Ln) acquisition of two English structures (i.e., Adv-V word order and Subject-Auxiliary inversion (residual Verb-Second, V2) by bilingual Norwegian-Russian adolescents. We propose the Linguistic Proximity Model (LPM) that explains the Ln learning: transfer occurs when a certain linguistic property receives strong supporting input from the involved languages, regardless of the order of acquisition (L1 or L2) or their general typological grouping. This predicts that Russian syntactic properties will help children learn English Adv-V word order and overcome Norwegian V2 influence. In order to verify these predictions, we tested three groups of 12-14-year-old English learners: L1 Norwegian, L1 Russian, and 2L1 Norwegian-Russian, matched for general English proficiency. The data suggest that while L1 Norwegian children over-accept ungrammatical sentences in English with Norwegian word order (V-Adv), the bilingual children notice these errors more often due to the facilitating influence of Russian.