Predicting cross-linguistic influence, structural priming and primeability in bilingual children

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Our next LuCiD seminar is on Tuesday 4th April 2023 (11am UK time - via Zoom). Dr Sharon Unsworth (Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) will talk about Predicting cross-linguistic influence, structural priming and primeability in bilingual children.

Abstract: There is clear evidence that under certain circumstances, one of a bilingual child's two languages may influence the other (Paradis & Genesee, 1996). This cross-linguistic influence (CLI) varies across linguistic domains, language combinations and children, and several language-level and individual-level factors have been invoked to explain this variation (see Serratrice, 2013, van Dijk, et al., 2022 for review), including surface overlap and language dominance (e.g., Döpke, 1998; Hulk & Müller, 2000; Yip & Matthews, 2000). Which of these factors constitute necessary and/or sufficient conditions for CLI and the exact mechanisms by which CLI occurs remain unknown, however. In this talk, I will report on a series of studies in which we try to arrive at a better understanding of CLI in bilingual language development by drawing on insights from the bilingual adult psycholinguistic literature (e.g., Hartsuiker et al., 2004). Our central hypothesis, following work by Serratrice (2016, 2022), is that CLI in bilingual children is driven by (structural) priming and reflects a certain level of cross-language sharing. I will show that (i) effects of CLI are visible in within- as well as between-language priming, (ii) it is possible to prime ungrammatical as well as grammatical structures, and (iii) (bilingual) proficiency influences priming behaviour. In addition, I will explore the impact of non-linguistic factors on priming behaviour, presenting work on perspective-taking and primeability in bilingual and monolingual children. 

How to join the seminar: This seminar will take place via Zoom. This seminar is free to attend & booking isn't required, just get in touch with Katharina Kaduk [email protected] for the Zoom details. 

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