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Cross-linguistic influence in the interpretation of anaphoric and cataphoric pronouns in English–Italian bilingual children

  • LUDOVICA SERRATRICE (a1)

Abstract

This study reports the results of a picture verification task assessing the interpretation of intra-sentential anaphora and cataphora in Italian by a group of English–Italian bilingual eight-year-olds, a group of age-matched Italian monolinguals, and a group of Italian monolingual adults. No significant differences between the groups were observed in the choice of a subject antecedent for null anaphoric pronouns, and only marginally significant differences were reported between the adults and the two groups of children for the interpretation of null cataphoric pronouns. By contrast, overt pronominal subjects were accepted as co-referential with a subject antecedent significantly more often by the bilingual children than by the monolingual children and the adults in the anaphoric condition, and both groups of children accepted a subject as the antecedent of an overt cataphoric pronoun significantly more often than the adults. These results are interpreted in the context of language-universal and language-specific processing strategies in anaphora resolution in bilingual and monolingual acquisition.

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Address for correspondence: The University of Manchester, School of Psychological Sciences, HCD, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UKE-mail:serratrice@manchester.ac.uk

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This study was funded by a Social Sciences Small Grant awarded to the author by The Nuffield Foundation. I am very grateful to the children who took part in the study, to their parents, and to their teachers. Special thanks are due to Mr Haywood and Ms Sharon Biellik at the International School of Milan, Mr Marzola at the Salvo D'Acquisto primary school in Grugliasco, and Mr O'Keefe at the Cavendish Road primary school in Manchester. Many thanks also to the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their many helpful comments and suggestions.

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Cross-linguistic influence in the interpretation of anaphoric and cataphoric pronouns in English–Italian bilingual children

  • LUDOVICA SERRATRICE (a1)

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