Asymmetries in grammatical aspect in (non-)heritage Greek-English bilingual children: Evidence from comprehension and production tasks
Democritus University of Thrace
The present studyaims to investigatethe acquisition of aspect in Greek, both in comprehension and production, in (non-)heritage bilingual Greek-English children.Studies of grammatical aspect on heritage speakers have indicatedthat the use of perfectiveaspect is more prevalent comparedtothe use of imperfective aspect (Montrul, 2002; Polinsky,2007).Most of the studies on (non-)heritage bilinguals have shown that the habitual feature is more problematic than the continuous one(Dosi, Papadopoulou & Tsimpli, 2016;Montrul, 2002). In terms of language proficiency it seems to affectaccurate performance on grammatical aspect (Montrul, 2002; 2009). The present study was conducted on (non-)heritage Greek-English bilingual children (N=33) andmonolingual peers(N=15). The results have revealed that, in the comprehension task, monolingualsoutperformed both heritageand non-heritage speakersand the non-heritage group scored higher than the heritage group.In the production task heritage speakers performed lower than the two other groups. The habitual feature was found to be problematic for the (non-)heritage speakers. Developmental differences were found only in the heritage group, in the habitual feature (production task); hence younger participants outperformed olderones. From the above, we deduce thatattrition effect in heritage speakers can be detectedin a problematic feature (i.e. habitual)by a demanding task, i.e. production task. Finally, the role of vocabulary knowledgewasfound to be the strongest predictor of bilingual performance.
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