Optionality in semantic-pragmatic interface of bilingualism? Bare numeral constructions in Tibetan and Chinese bilinguals’ grammar
Keywords:bare nouns, bilingualism, Chinese, interface, Tibetan
Bare numeral constructions (BNCs) can be anaphoric in Chinese but not Tibetan. Since the interpretation of BNCs requires a specific context, we consider it to involve a semantic-pragmatic interface, which has been argued to be vulnerable to crosslinguistic transfer for bilinguals (e.g., Sorace 2005, 2011). This study conducted a controlled sentence-picture matching truth value judgment task to examine whether Tibetan-Chinese bilinguals show crosslinguistic influence when interpreting BNCs in both languages. The data suggests that crosslinguistic effects did occur among some bilinguals. However, there were more bilinguals who successfully differentiated the two languages regarding the interpretation of BNCs. Our findings imply that early bilinguals may not necessarily show optionality in interface phenomena.
Published by the LSA with permission of the author(s) under a CC BY 4.0 license.