Monolingual language acquisition in a mixed language community: a case study of Northern East Cree

Pile, Stephanie C. (2018) Monolingual language acquisition in a mixed language community: a case study of Northern East Cree. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis examines the effects of English language contact on the acquisition of Northern East Cree. Specifically, I examine the productions of one child, code-named Billy, whose language development was documented longitudinally (between the ages of 04;06 and 06;00) as part of the Chisasibi Child Language Acquisition Study. Billy's language productions are of particular interest because he was raised in a largely monolingual Cree-language household, with minimal contact with English language speakers. I describe both qualitatively and quantitatively the distribution of English-origin forms in Billy’s productions. Billy produces English-origin word forms within his Cree-language utterances, which are characterized by both a majority of Cree morphology and a minority of English morphological markers. Billy also produces "bare" English-origin forms without inflectional morphology. Overall, Billy appears to have acquired a grammar for the Cree language that is largely devoid of English rules or structures. Although Billy produces English-origin nouns, verbs, adjectives, and nominal morphology, there is little evidence in the dataset that he has acquired a productive grammatical system for English. This case study provides insight into how language contact phenomena can impact the language acquisition of an Indigenous language. It also suggests that, in Billy's case, his language has developed into a grammatical system that essentially corresponds to that of Cree, with minor insertions of English lexical forms and grammatical markers.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 13498
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 176-181).
Keywords: language contact, Code-mixing, Code-switching, Borrowing, Acquisition, Polysynthetic, Algonquian, Cree, Morphosyntax, Longitudinal
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: August 2018
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Language acquisition; Languages in contact; Cree language--Acquisition

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