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Helen ENGEMANN (Goethe-University Frankfurt)
Learning to think for speaking about space in child bilingualism
2016, Vol. XXI-2, pp. 49-64
An unresolved question in early child bilingualism research concerns the extent to which the acquisition of semantic and conceptual domains is affected by age of onset. This paper compares how reference to caused motion events (Talmy 2000) is acquired in French by early successive and simultaneous bilingual children. Elicited event verbalizations reveal that both bilingual groups diverge considerably from monolingual children and manifest response tendencies mid-way between English and French monolinguals. The effect of age of onset is outweighed by language-specific factors that give rise to convergence strategies. This result is argued to be motivated by the lack of transparency associated with the French system and the partial overlap with English.