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What's so hard about that? Cross-Linguistic Interaction in Demonstratives

Three criteria have been established for determining whether a faculty or aspect of language is a locus for cross-linguistic interaction (CLI) in bilinguals: intragroup homogeneity, intergroup heterogeneity, and crosslinguistic performance congruity (Jarvis and Pavlenko, 2008:41). This study aims to address all three in order to whether demonstratives - which are both linguistic universals and also subject to great cross-linguistic variation – are a possible locus for CLI (Diessel, 1999). Accordingly, we investigated whether speakers’ usage of demonstratives in their L2 is dictated by differences in, or similarities to, the demonstrative inventory of their L1, by asking L2 speakers of six languages – three with 2-term systems (English, Italian, and Chinese) and three with 3-term systems (Thai, Japanese, and Spanish determine) to categorise various objects in their personal and peri- personal space differently. We then compared the results to the behaviour of the L1 control groups for the same languages. We discovered that (INSERT RESULTS HERE), indicating that demonstratives are/are not a locus of CLI.

Jarvis, S. and Pavlenko, A. (2008). Crosslinguistic Influence in Language and Cognition. Routledge.
Diessel, H. (1999). Demonstratives: Form, function and cognition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.