Number problems in monolingual and bilingual French-speaking children: A production/comprehension divide?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study focuses on the acquisition of subject-verb agreement in number in spoken French. We compare production and comprehension of singular and plural verb forms in French monolingual and French-Swedish bilingual children (n=58) aged from five to ten years. Overall, the results demonstrate that subject-verb agreement in number is a challenge to all French-speaking children, be it monolingual or bilingual, due to its heterogeneous, partial and lexically restricted nature. Furthermore, in production, bilingual children omit plural verb forms significantly more often than monolinguals. However, in comprehension they pattern with their monolingual peers. The data also illustrate an asymmetric pattern: Plural verb forms are more easily comprehended than produced whereas singular verb forms are more easily produced than comprehended. The reasons for this asymmetry are discussed from a usage-based perspective, focusing on the frequency of verb forms and agreement patterns in the French input.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature
  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • Monolingual and bilingual acquisition of French, subject-verb agreement, number agreement, production and comprehension asymmetries, spoken French
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-50
JournalLanguage, Interaction and Acquisition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: French studies (015012001), Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

Related projects

Anita Thomas, Jonas Granfelt, Malin Ågren & Suzanne Schlyter

Swedish Research Council


Project: Research

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