Cross-linguistic similarities and differences in bilingual acquisition and attrition: Possessives and double definiteness in Norwegian heritage language
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBilingualism: Language and Cognition. 2018, 21 (4), 748-764. 10.1017/S1366728918000330
This study investigates possessives and modified definite DPs in a corpus of heritage Norwegian spoken in the US. Both constructions involve variation in Norwegian – two word orders for possessives (pre- and postnominal) and two exponents of definiteness (a prenominal determiner and a suffix) – while English only has one of these options. The findings show that a large majority of the heritage speakers overuse the structures that are maximally different from English structures, i.e., postnominal possessors and single suffixal definiteness marking. We argue that their production pattern is the result of cross-linguistic overcorrection (CLO). In addition, a small group of the heritage speakers show signs of cross-linguistic influence (CLI) and overuse the English-like structures in both constructions. These speakers also have a slightly lower proficiency in the heritage language. Our findings are discussed in terms of previous research on monolingual and Norwegian–English bilingual children.