More Than One Language in the Brain: Acquisition and Coexistence

Country: Italy

City: Perugia

Abstr. due: 03.12.2014

Dates: 25.02.15 — 25.02.15

Area Of Sciences: Humanities; Pedagogy; Psychology;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Università per Stranieri di Perugia


Work in generative grammar has highlighted that human beings are endowed with a peculiar faculty to acquire a language, grounded in a basic principle (Chomsky 2013). Multilingualism is however a characteristic feature of humans (Paradis 2010 a.o), and when more than one language is at stake in the same individual, the following has been observed:

- While one always reaches a complete attainment in one language, this does not always happen for languages beyond the first (incomplete ultimate attainment)
- Features of a language may enter the grammar of another, steadily or optionally (transfer)

This workshop addresses the following questions:

- Can incomplete ultimate attainment be explained solely in terms of the age factor or L2 input?
- What's the role of principles of data analysis and efficient computation (Chomsky's 2005 'third factor') in determining incomplete ultimate attainment and transfer?
- What differentiates incomplete ultimate attainment in a language beyond the first with respect to incomplete attainment in non-typical language acquisition?
- Which mechanisms govern the transfer of features from a language to another? To what extent does transfer depend on the status of a language with respect to another or on the specific property transferred? Can a directionality be detected in either case?
- How are incomplete ultimate attainment and transfer to be characterized with respect to different linguistic sub-modules and interfaces?

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