a1 University of Minho, Portugal
This study investigates the differential effects of language attrition in two diverse linguistic domains: verb placement and object expression. Linguistic phenomena at the syntax – discourse interface, such as object expression, have been shown to be more vulnerable to attrition than narrow syntax properties, such as verb placement. This study aims to test this hypothesis by analysing spoken data from Portuguese–German bilinguals who have moved away from the dominant German environment. The results show that the speakers who have lost continued German input after the age of eleven years exhibit difficulties regarding object expression in German but do not reveal any relevant syntactic deficits in the domain of verb placement.
(Received November 15 2010)
(Revised September 08 2011)
(Accepted October 25 2011)
(Online publication December 12 2011)
c1 Address for correspondence: Departamento de Estudos Germanísticos e Eslavos, Instituto de Letras e Ciências Humanas, Universidade do Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal email@example.com
* The research for this paper was made possible through a grant from the FCT, the Portuguese Council for Research (project reference POCI/LIN/59780/2004). I hereby gratefully acknowledge this support. I also wish to express my sincere thanks to the participants in this study for their support and enthusiasm and to the reviewers for their helpful comments.