- The acquisition of gender and case in Polish and Russian: A study of monolingual and bilingual children
- Award date
- 24 November 2016
- Number of pages
- Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Pegasus
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
Polish and Russian are typologically closely related Slavic languages that have highly comparable nominal morphology within their gender and case systems in their written form. In their spoken form, however, they show crucial differences, specifically in the phonetic realisation of unstressed vowels. They thus form an ideal combination for testing language-specific phonetic factors that might influence the acquisition of gender and case systems. It is also the case that no comparative research has been done on the acquisition of gender and case in Polish and Russian in monolingual and bilingual children.
This study focuses on the acquisition of the gender and case systems in Polish and Russian children aged 3;6-6;6 in order to establish the impact of language-specific factors, in particular the phonetic realisation of unstressed vowels, on the acquisition of these systems. It is the first study that uses a research paradigm comparing two closely related languages, both on the production and comprehension of gender and case in monolinguals and bilinguals (with L2 Dutch), using the same method and highly similar test materials.
In conclusion, this study has shown that the reduced amount of phonetic clarity, the lower morphophonological regularity (expressed by the larger number of endings in Russian compared to Polish), and the low frequency of the end-stressed pattern result in Russian children being slower in the acquisition of gender and case. In future studies, this paradigm can be applied to the study of other, also non-Slavic languages, by adding other cases, the plural or involving agreement with adjectives in the oblique cases and past tense verbs.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
Series: Pegasus Oost-Europese Studies 27