The Acquisition of Grammatical Gender of Determiners in Danish Monolingual and Bilingual Children: An Experimental Study

F. Gregersen*, L. Cornips, D.B. Thomsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper examines the acquisition of grammatical gender of indefinite and definite DPs in Danish. It investigates which grammatical contexts further acquisition and which slow it down, and whether distinguishing between monolinguals and bilinguals makes a difference. Danish has a two-way gender distinction (common and neuter), fusing gender with definiteness in the DP. In order to answer our research questions, we tested monolingual and bilingual Danish-speaking children (n=72) from different age groups using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, a Picture Description Task, and a Story Task. A generalized linear mixed effects regression analysis of the results showed that i) the children produced the Standard Danish determiner significantly more often with common than with neuter nouns; ii) the children produced significantly more Standard Danish gender marking in simple DPs than in complex DPs; iii) the children produced significantly more expressions with definite determiners realized as suffixes than with indefinite determiners expressed as prenominal articles in accordance with conventional norms; and iv) bilingual children produced significantly less Standard Danish gender marking than their monolingual peers, but ceiling effects in the monolingual group made it impossible to examine interactions between group and grammatical context.*

Original languageEnglish
Article number1470542720000161
Pages (from-to)147-178
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Germanic Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • language acquisition
  • grammatical gender in Danish
  • (in)definite DPs
  • prenominal determiner
  • variable gender marking
  • frequency

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