The Bottleneck Hypothesis (Slabakova, 2008) aims to predict which aspects of the grammatical architecture are particularly problematic in second language grammars. When comparing the acquisition of the different linguistic modules, L2 learners appear to struggle more with morphology - the bottleneck of acquisition - than with syntax and semantics. The linguistic behavior of early bilinguals who are heritage speakers appears to be similar to L2 acquisition in many respects, and their apparent similarities have sparked substantial research comparing the linguistic abilities of L2 learners and heritage speakers. This chapter extends the Bottleneck Hypothesis to heritage speakers and examines how input and output factors may cause morphology to be the bottleneck in heritage language acquisition as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Bilingualism
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages29
StatePublished - 2018


  • Bottleneck hypothesis
  • Heritage language acquisition
  • L2 acquisition
  • Morphology
  • Semantics
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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