This study explored the long-term effects of limited input on bilingual teenagers’ acquisition of complex morphology in Welsh. Study 1 assessed 168 12–13 and 16–17-year-old teenagers, across three bilingual groups: those whose first language was Welsh (L1 Welsh), those who learned Welsh and English simultaneously (L1 Welsh–English), and those who learned Welsh as a second language (L2 Welsh), on their receptive knowledge of grammatical gender. Study 2 assessed the same participants on their production of plural morphology. While the results of Study 1 revealed continuous progression toward adult norms among L1 Welsh-speaking bilinguals, with the simultaneous bilinguals progressing at a slower rate, the results of Study 2 revealed performances on plural morphology that were comparable to adult norms among the 16–17-year-old L1 Welsh-speaking bilinguals, and some progression among the simultaneous bilinguals. In contrast, delayed progression was seen among the L2 Welsh-speaking bilinguals across the board, with 16–17-year-old L2 participants lagging behind their L1 peers on both grammatical gender and plural morphology. The implications of these findings for our understanding of the long-term outcomes for bilinguals learning complex structures under minority language conditions are discussed.
- minority language
- ultimate attainment