Differential Object Marking (DOM) marks some objects overtly with specific morphology and is regulated by several semantic and pragmatic factors. DOM exhibits synchronic and diachronic variability within and across languages, especially in bilingual contexts, and the study of heritage languages offers a unique perspective on the forces that shape it. This study investigates knowledge of DOM in Romanian and its interaction with accusative clitic doubling (CD) in native speakers of Romanian in Romania and first- and second-generation Romanian immigrants to the United States. The results of an oral production task, a written production task, and a written and auditory comprehension task show convergence between the adult immigrant group and the Romanians in the homeland. When divergent uses of DOM and accusative clitic omission occurred, these were mostly produced by the heritage speakers with early onset of bilingualism, consistent with findings of age effects in heritage language acquisition and a Differential Access Model of heritage language grammars. We discuss these results in the contexts of DOM vulnerability in other heritage languages, such as Spanish, and consider why DOM in Romanian might be comparatively better preserved by the adult immigrants and heritage speakers.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119
JournalGlossa: a journal of general linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • differential object marking
  • differential access
  • production
  • comprehension
  • heritage speakers
  • Romanian
  • clitic doubling


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