NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ799915
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 46
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Age and Input in the Acquisition of Grammatical Gender in Dutch
Unsworth, Sharon
Second Language Research, v24 n3 p365-395 2008
This article investigates the effect of age of first exposure and the quantity and quality of input to which non-native acquirers (L2ers) are exposed in their acquisition of grammatical gender in Dutch. Data from 103 English-speaking children, preteens and adults were analyzed for gender agreement on definite determiners. It was observed that although most learners regularly overgeneralized the common gender definite determiner "de" to neuter nouns, there also existed child and adult L2ers who consistently produced the target neuter determiner "het" with these nouns ("contra" Carroll, 1989; Hawkins and Franceschina, 2004; Franceschina, 2005). Participants in all three groups produced "het" equally frequently with nonderived nouns as with diminutives, one of the few reliable morphophonological cues for neuter gender (compare Carroll, 1999). The present findings are evaluated in light of previous research (Hulk and Cornips, 2006a) suggesting that the quality of input to which L2ers are exposed may significantly affect their ability to proceed beyond the aforementioned stage of overgeneralization. Evidence for frequency effects and the observation that targetlike performance correlated with length of exposure suggests that quantity of input is a significant factor in the acquisition of Dutch gender. This is to be expected if the acquisition of gender is for a large part word-learning (Carroll, 1989; Montrul and Potowski, 2007) (Contains 5 tables and 2 figures.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A