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Auteur: Antonella SORACE

Interactions between linguistic constraints and executive functions in early and late bilingualism

Abstract/Résumé: Recent research on bilingual language development has revealed some convergent developmental paths among different early and late bilingual groups, such as child bilinguals, advanced adult second language speakers, and native speakers affected by attrition due to long-term use of another language. All these bilingual groups show variability in linguistic intuitions and behavior that (a) appears to be restricted to the interfaces between syntax and pragmatics and (b) tends to asymmetrically concern one language, but not the other. I will illustrate these patterns of variability with experimental data from bilinguals speaking different language combinations, focusing in particular on the interpretation of anaphoric forms. I will argue that an age-sensitive subtle interplay of linguistic constraints and specific executive functions is at the root of these phenomena. A better understanding of these interactions requires both linguistic theory and an interdisciplinary approach to the data.