Multilingual Minds (MuMin) – Grammar interaction in multilingual acquisition
Funding: Research Council of Norway (NOK 9 mill.) 2021-2025
Brief project description: The last decades have witnessed a remarkable increase in effort from several disciplines aimed to uncover the mechanisms of language acquisition and language processing, and to understand how language is organised in the mind. One important aspect of this enterprise is the study of whether and how multiple languages interact within multilingual minds. This question is difficult to address within methodological approaches which compare the linguistic behaviour of bilingual children to that of their monolingual peers. In this project, we will carry out a comparison across multiple bilingual populations. In doing so, we will keep one language - the target - constant and vary the second language parametrically (based on the presence and absence of certain grammatical features). We will match the participants by their exposure to the target language as closely as possible, thus making sure that the core difference between the groups is the other language they know. This means that if we find any differences in the way the bilingual groups comprehend or produce the target language, we will be able to attribute these differences to the influence coming from their second languages.
MuMin will use three methods: i) visual world eye-tracking to investigate online processing, ii) production experiments, and iii) detailed background questionnaires to match the participants by exposure to the target language.