Pronoun development in bilingual Mandarin-English children



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English and Chinese monolingual children differ in pronoun interpretation: English-speaking monolingual children display Delay of Principle B (DPBE) and Quantificational Asymmetry (QA), whereas Mandarin-speaking monolingual children do not. However, it was yet unknown what bilingual Mandarin-English children's pronoun interpretation will be. The following study investigated pronoun interpretation in 13 Mandarin-English bilingual children under English and Mandarin reflexive, referential, and quantificational conditions. The specific aims were to examine 1) if bilingual Mandarin-English children displayed DPBE and QA in both English and Chinese, 2) if there were any cross-linguistic transfer of pronoun interpretation between the two languages, and 3) if there were any correlations between age and language use and the accuracy of pronoun interpretation. The results showed that Mandarin-English children did indeed display DPBE in English and no DPBE and no QA in Mandarin. There was evidence of cross-linguistic transfer in English and Mandarin Reflexive condition. Finally, age but not language use was correlated with pronoun interpretation accuracy. The study provided insight into pronoun interpretation for bilingual Mandarin-English children and may prove to be helpful for developing an English-Mandarin language ability test.