Development of syntactic structures in Portuguese and French monolingual and bilingual acquisition


  • Project identification: Development of syntactic structures in Portuguese and French monolingual and bilingual acquisition
  • Group: LiFE – Formal and Experimental Linguistics
  • Portuguese Coordinator: Maria Lobo
  • French Coordinator: Carla Soares-Jesel (Université Paris-Diderot/Laboratoire de Linguistique Formelle (LLF; UMR 7110 – CNRS and Université Paris-Diderot))
  • Duration: 2017 – Dec. 2018
  • Funding entity: Program PHC Pessoa 2017; Proc.º 441.00 France (Portuguese team funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, I.P.))


The differences and similarities between monolingual and bilingual acquisition have been explored by different authors. In order to attain a better characterization of these processes, we need to understand the role that different types of input have on language acquisition and how crosslinguistic differences and type of syntactic structure affect language acquisition. Portuguese and French share a core of properties, but diverge in several syntactic structures. This project seeks to explore the acquisition of clitics, subject pronouns, wh-questions and clefts in French and Portuguese monolingual acquisition and in French-Portuguese bilingual acquisition by populations in different language environments. We aim at: i) identifying similarities and differences in the development of syntactic properties; ii) identifying areas that are more prone to crosslinguistic influence; and iii) understanding the role of language environment in bilingual acquisition.

Portuguese team

Maria Lobo (principal investigator)
Ana Madeira
Margarida Tomaz
Stephanie Dias Vaz

French team

Carla Soares-Jesel (principal investigator)
Caterina Donati
Ingrid Konrad
Gabriel Thiberge