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Acquisition and use of past tense-aspect morphology by French monolingual and French-English bilingual children : a study of interactions between past morphology and lexical aspect in spontaneous and narrative data across languages

Abstract : This dissertation focuses on the acquisition of past verb forms in French and in English by two French monolingual children filmed between 1;06 and 4;05 and two French-English bilingual children filmed between 2;06 and 3;07 in spontaneous interaction with their caretakers. I also analyze the productions of six bilingual children aged from 3;11 to 7;08 and recorded during two family dinners and narrative sessions in French and in English.This work is set within usage-based theories, which present language acquisition as driven by language exposure and use. I investigate the interactions between past morphology and lexical aspect in the narrative and spontaneous productions of the children and in their input, to test the predictions of the prototype account of the Aspect Hypothesis. The adults’ use of past verb forms in the longitudinal corpora was thus confronted to the children’s use of tense-aspect morphology. The first two parts present the theoretical framework, the method and the corpora used. I then show that the children recorded longitudinally first produced past morphology predominantly with the types of predicates they were used with most frequently in their input. All children used these forms with restricted temporal functions. Language dominance affected the bilingual children’s use of past verb forms in narrative and spontaneous discourse, suggesting that their acquisition highly depends on the quantity of input received by children in their two languages. Task-type effects were identified in the children’s use of past verb forms in their narrative productions, where they used past morphology to serve less complex functions in the more complex tasks.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 2:00:16 PM
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Alice Brunet. Acquisition and use of past tense-aspect morphology by French monolingual and French-English bilingual children : a study of interactions between past morphology and lexical aspect in spontaneous and narrative data across languages. Linguistics. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle - Paris III, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021PA030108⟩. ⟨tel-03652250⟩

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