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Chinese L1 children's English L2 verb morphology over time: individual variation in long-term outcomes

  • JOHANNE PARADIS (a1), YASEMIN TULPAR (a1) and ANTTI ARPPE (a1)

Abstract

This study examined accuracy in production and grammaticality judgements of verb morphology by eighteen Chinese-speaking children learning English as a second language (L2) followed longitudinally from four to six years of exposure to English, and who began to learn English at age 4;2. Children's growth in accuracy with verb morphology reached a plateau by six years, where 11/18 children did not display native-speaker levels of accuracy for one or more morphemes. Variation in children's accuracy with verb morphology was predicted by their English vocabulary size and verbal short-term memories primarily, and quality and quantity of English input at home secondarily. This study shows that even very young L2 learners might not all catch up to native speakers in this time frame and that non-age factors play a role in determining individual variation in child L2 learners’ long-term outcomes with English morphology.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Johanne Paradis, University of Alberta – Linguistics, 4-57 Assiniboia Hall, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E7, Canada. e-mail: johanne.paradis@ualberta.ca

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