The Acquisition of Past Tense in English/Norwegian Bilingual Children Single versus Dual Mechanisms

  • Maja Jensvoll University of Tromsø
Keywords: Verb, Past Tense, Language Acquisition, Default Rules, Bilingualism, Connectionist Language Theory, Generative Linguistics


In a study of three Norwegian/English bilingual siblings, their strategies for acquiring past tense of verbs in both languages were examined. Elicitation tests were performed in both languages and the children’s performance and error patterns were examined. These results were then compared to data from monolingual English and Norwegian speaking children. The results are discussed within the framework of the Single Mechanism Account Hypothesis, a Connectionist approach, and the Dual Mechanism Account Hypothesis, a Generative Approach. The current study suggests support for the Dual Mechanism Approach Hypothesis. It seems that the children in the current study did in fact create rules for past tense which they could apply by default.