The Trilingual Acquisition of Gender - A Case Study of French, Dutch and German
MetadataShow full item record
The present study investigates the acquisition of grammatical gender of nouns in a trilingual three-and-a half year old boy acquiring French, German and Dutch. He is exposed to French and German from birth and to Dutch before the onset of speech (11 months). The study examines the differences between the acquisition course of the three languages and the causes thereof. Related literature associates these differences with the degree of available assignment rules for gender. Moreover, the study investigates differences and their causes between mono-, bi- and multilingual acquisition. These differences may be caused either by cross-linguistic influences on the one hand or by reduced input on the other. Results indicate that there is only very subtle evidence of assignment rules (only in German). A prominent result is the use a gender default (common gender in Dutch, masculine gender in French and German). There is no evidence of cross-linguistic influence. Reduced input seems to be an important factor to explain the results.