MORPHOPHONOLOGICAL ACQUISITION IN A MINIATURE LANGUAGE LEARNING TASK WITH MONOLINGUAL AND BILINGUAL SPEAKERS
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis paper explores the role of bilingualism in a person’s ability to learn the morphophonological rules of a miniature language - a small, novel language designed to investigate language acquisition. Previous research has investigated whether bilingual speakers show cognitive and linguistic advantages over monolinguals, with mixed results. Some research shows general cognitive advantages for bilinguals, others show advantages with specific linguistic constructions but not others, and still others show no advantages. To inform this debate, participants were taught the pattern of pluralization in a novel language using a miniature-language learning task and were then tested on their ability to apply the rules they learned to new forms. The plural forms illustrated either initial consonant mutation, where the first consonant of a word changes in certain contexts, or infixation, where a morpheme is added in the middle of a word. The proportion of correct responses was compared between monolingual and bilingual speakers for both pluralization patterns, and no significant difference was found. While further research is necessary to determine the specificity of this finding, this experiment suggests that there may be no difference in bilingual and monolingual speaker’s ability to learn the morphophonological rules of a language.