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The development and representation of Dutch syntax in learners of Dutch as a foreign language and learners of Dutch as a second native language.

In current days of mass migration, many people learn a brand new language at a later age. This is not easy: Languages have both similarities and differences in the sentence structures with which they express particular meanings. For instance, the Dutch and French active sentences are similar in both languages (Le chat chasse la souris - De kat jaagt op de muis [The cat cases the mouse]), but Dutch has three different forms for the full passive sentence, whereas French has only one (La souris est chassée par le chat). How do learners deal with this? Previous research suggests that bilinguals share information about sentence structure across their languages, whenever these structures are similar enough. We proposed a developmental model for second language syntax in which learners go through 5 consecutive learning stages before they share syntax between languages. The goal of this project is to test and refine that theory. We will investigate the syntactic representations in different speakers of Dutch: 1) Flemish students with Dutch as their only native language; 2) Arabic-Dutch simultaneous bilinguals; 3) Walloon students who learned Dutch at the age of 10; 4) first generation immigrants learning Dutch as second Indo-European language. This will provide valuable information on the learning trajectory for Dutch syntax (with its possible problems) and on the influence of native language syntax on the development and the final representation of Dutch syntax. -
Date:1 Jan 2019  →  Today
Disciplines:Psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics
Project type:Collaboration project