Omission of clitics is often considered a critical marker of language development in children. For this reason, clitic omission in language development has been studied crosslinguistically. Results on clitic production reveal that languages differ with respect to the rates at which clitics are omitted by children, as well as on the duration of the clitic omission stages. This paper compares clitic omission by monolingual and bilingual children acquiring European Portuguese – a language with both clitics and null objects – and Capeverdean Creole – a language with clitics in which null objects are ruled out. We show that omission is only found in monolingual Portuguese, and in bilingual Capeverdean. These results confirm earlier findings on the precocious sensitivity to the availability of null objects, and signal object drop as a critical distinguishing factor for differentiating bilinguals and monolinguals.
©2016 by De Gruyter Mouton