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ERIC Number: ED550307
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 296
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-9567-0
When the Quiet Surfaces: "Transfer" of Argument Omission in the Speech of ASL-English Bilinguals
Koulidobrova, Elena V.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Connecticut
The main research question of this dissertation is the nature of language interaction effects observed in linguistic patterns of multilingual children. Such effects--often described as syntactic transfer/influence of one of the languages on the other--have been richly documented in the multilingualism literature. I review an influential model (Hulk & Muller 2000) of these effects and propose an alternative, which I demonstrate to be more consistent with the framework adopted in the dissertation (i.e. the "Minimalist Program," Chomsky 1995, i.a). In short, I argue that "language transfer effects" are instances of a Minimalist-in-spirit code-switching (e.g. MacSwan 1999), which, for a variety of reasons, I label "language-synthesis." It amounts to the presence of elements from different languages in one Numeration and requires that such language alternation be unconstrained unless independently blocked. I focus the discussion on the predictions made by each of the two models for argument omission between null- and non-null-argument languages of a bilingual. Using data from two balanced A(merican)S(ign)L(anguage)-English bilinguals, I show that unlike the "cross-linguistic influence" approach, the "language-synthesis" alternative accounts for the distribution of null arguments in the children's English. On the way to this conclusion, I address an ASL-internal issue-the nature of argument omission. I review the standard analyses of null arguments in ASL and challenge them. Specifically, 1 argue that in non-agreeing contexts, the null argument in ASL parallels Japanese-style argument ellipsis. Among the consequences of the account are the status of morphological agreement and the nature of the nominal domain in ASL. I demonstrate that the presence of the relevant lexical items from ASL, deemed responsible for argument ellipsis, in a Numeration otherwise containing lexical items from English may result in ASL-style argument ellipsis in the bilinguals' English. This approach, I suggest, accounts for certain transfer effects found in the speech of bimodal bilinguals. Moreover, because in relevant ways, bimodal bilinguals behave differently from unimodal bilinguals, the dissertation appeals to the unique nature of bimodal bilingualism as a testing ground for language interaction effects in multiIinguals. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A