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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

Bilingual development of Turkish-speaking children in Sweden[1]

  • Ute Bohnacker


The BiLI-TAS project explores the Turkish and Swedish language development of 102 bilingual children aged 4–7, growing up in Sweden. Findings are reported for vocabulary, inflectional morphology and subordination, and are related to existing studies of Turkish-speaking children with other language combinations. Higher Turkish vocabulary scores at age 4–5 give way to steeper vocabulary growth in the majority language Swedish. Narratives indicate mastery of Turkish inflection, but lower accuracy in Swedish, with overextended nonfinite past participle suffixation to mark finite past tense. Swedish subordinate clauses are well mastered and increase with age. Despite identical elicitation tasks, relative clauses are less frequent in Turkish, suggesting language-specific discourse functions. Adverbial subordination in Turkish is early, frequent and varied. Novel blends of a subordinate and a coordinate construction with clause-initial çünkü occur, not previously described in the literature.


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