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Ni Luh Putu Sri Adnyani and I Wayan Pastika

Abstract

Current research in bilingual children’s language development with one language dominant has shown that one linguistic system can affect the other. This is called Crosslinguistic Influence (CLI). This paper explores whether CLI is experienced by a bilingual child raised in two typologically distinct languages in terms of phonological development. It uses data from the study of a child simultaneously acquiring Indonesian and German between the ages of 12 months - 20 months, with Indonesian as the dominant language. The sound segments developed by the child showed universal tendencies, with the appearance of bilabials prior to alveolar sounds, followed by velar sounds. The sounds were produced mostly in the form of stops, nasals and glides. Three phonological processes were displayed by the child: substitution, assimilation and syllable structures. The front rounded vowel [ʏ], which exists in German but not in the Indonesian sound system, was systematically replaced by the palatal approximant [j]. This approximant exists in the Indonesian sound system but not in the German phonemic inventory. This provides evidence that, in terms of phonological development, the child experienced CLI, but only for certain sound transfers.

Open access

Ni Luh Putu Sri Adnyani, Ni Luh Sutjiati Beratha, I Wayan Pastika and I Nyoman Suparwa

Abstract

The contexts and circumstances of the occurrence of cross-linguistic influence in bilingual children’s language development are still a matter of debate. The present study argues that in the early development of a bilingual child exposed to two typologically distinct languages (Indonesian and German), the child developed two separate linguistic systems. The child, raised in Indonesia, was exposed to Indonesian by her Indonesian mother and to German by her German father. The study focuses on the early stages of verbal morphology and word order, from ages 1;3 to 2;2. The corpus took the form of conversational text or speech based on spontaneous interactions in natural settings. The data was collected using diary records, supplemented by weekly video recordings. In analysing the data, two software systems were used: ELAN and Toolbox. The speech was segmented based on utterances. All verbal morphology and word order was coded. The results show that verbal morphology in Indonesian and German was acquired by the child at different times, with the development of German verbs occurring later than Indonesian verb acquisition. In addition, there is evidence of interaction between the two developing systems. Cross-linguistic interference was identified when the child used the Indonesian vocatives-predicate combination in German utterances while, at the same time, the child also applied the German verb-final clause structure in Indonesian utterances when she should have produced German utterances. Thus, the results from this case study suggest that both language external and internal factors account for the occurrence of cross-linguistic influence.