International Journal of Bilingualism

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 1367-0069
Publications
Article
This study compares lexical access and expressive and receptive vocabulary development in monolingual and bilingual toddlers. More specifically, the link between vocabulary size, production of translation equivalents, and lexical access in bilingual infants was examined as well as the relationship between the Communicative Development Inventories and the Computerized Comprehension Task. Twenty-five bilingual and 18 monolingual infants aged 24 months participated in this study. The results revealed significant differences between monolingual and bilinguals' expressive vocabulary size in L1 but similar total vocabularies. Performance on the Computerized Comprehension Task revealed no differences between the two groups on measures of both reaction time and accuracy, and a strong convergent validity of the Computerized Comprehension Task with the Communicative Development Inventories was observed for both groups. Bilinguals with a higher proportion of translation equivalents in their expressive vocabulary showed faster access to words in the Computerized Comprehension Task.
 
Article
Previous studies have indicated that bilingualism may influence the efficiency of lexical access in adults. The goals of this research were (1) to compare bilingual and monolingual adults on their native-language vocabulary performance, and (2) to examine the relationship between short-term memory skills and vocabulary performance in monolinguals and bilinguals. In Experiment 1, English-speaking monolingual adults and simultaneous English-Spanish bilingual adults were administered measures of receptive English vocabulary and of phonological short-term memory. In Experiment 2, monolingual adults were compared to sequential English-Spanish bilinguals, and were administered the same measures as in Experiment 1, as well as a measure of expressive English vocabulary. Analyses revealed comparable levels of performance on the vocabulary and the short-term memory measures in the monolingual and the bilingual groups across both experiments. There was a stronger effect of digit-span in the bilingual group than in the monolingual group, with high-span bilinguals outperforming low-span bilinguals on vocabulary measures. Findings indicate that bilingual speakers may rely on short-term memory resources to support word retrieval in their native language more than monolingual speakers.
 
Article
Children with specific language impairment (SLI) exhibit limited grammatical skills compared to their peers with typical language. These difficulties may be revealed when alternating their two languages (i.e., codeswitching) within sentences. Fifty-eight Spanish-English speaking children with and without SLI produced narratives using wordless picture books and conversational samples. The results indicated no significant differences in the proportion of utterances with codeswitching (CS) across age groups or contexts of elicitation. There were significant effects for language dominance, language of testing, and a significant dominance by language of testing interaction. The English-dominant children demonstrated more CS when tested in their nondominant language (Spanish) compared to the Spanish-dominant children tested in their weaker English. The children with SLI did not display more CS or more instances of atypical CS patterns compared to their typical peers. The findings indicate that children with SLI are capable of using grammatical CS, in spite of their language difficulties. In addition, the analyses suggest that CS is sensitive to sociolinguistic variables such as when the home language is not socially supported in the larger sociocultural context. In these cases, children may refrain from switching to the home language, even if that is their dominant language.
 
Article
of at least 16 different foreign languages, and a talent for learning new ones that is clearly demonstrated even when the authors present him with the problem of learning Epun, an artificial language with peculiar properties that (according to the theory of grammar embraced by the authors) do not not exist in the real world and could not be acquired by any normal child. I was convinced by the end of the book that Christopher is indeed a fascinating young man, but the authors' agenda goes far beyond biography. They believe that they are describing a true savant; as we shall soon see, I am not sure that premise is correct. They also believe that they have provided incontrovertible evidence for the independence of language from cognition, for the modularity of the various subcomponents that make up the language faculty, and for the idea that Universal Grammar is an innate property of the human mind with tremendous explanatory value in the study of first- and second-language acquisition.
 
Article
This manual is designed to help researchers new to the work of transcription and coding bilingual data or for individuals who have done familiar work but have a new set of data waiting to be transcribed and coded. Describes step-by-step a way of carrying out the transcription and coding that provides many useful facilities and makes it possible to use already existing computer-based analytical tools. (Author/VWL)
 
Article
This comparative study explores the first language acquisition of Mandarin nominal expressions by monolingual and simultaneous Mandarin—English bilingual children, with the aim of contributing new data relevant to the autonomous vs. interdependent debate in bilingual first language acquisition. More specifically, it focuses on the developmental sequences of complex definite and indefinite nominal expressions in the forms of [demonstrative + numeral + classifier + noun] and [numeral + classifier + noun] respectively, comparing both qualitatively and quantitatively the developmental pathways and time progression observed in corpora derived from two longitudinal studies. The bilingual corpus analyzed consists of an extensive daily record of utterances from age 10 months to 33 months, while the monolingual corpus is derived from a set of eight video recorded sessions spanning the age range from 20 months to 26 months. The outcomes provide support for the Autonomous Development Hypothesis, to the extent that the developmental pathway of Mandarin nominal expressions as elaborated in the bilingual child’s case is found to be highly comparable with that of the monolingual counterpart and that up to the end of the observation period no apparent transfers from English nominal syntax to Mandarin were observed. Copyright © 2010 the Author/s 2010
 
Article
A total of 241 Maltese children aged 2;0–6;0 years, drawn randomly from the public registry of births, were assessed on a picture naming task to evaluate phone articulation, phonology and consistency of word production. Children were allowed to use the language they chose (either Maltese or English). Ninety-three children (38.6%) were reported by parents to speak both Maltese and English at home, 137 (56.9%) were reported to speak Maltese and 11 (4.7%) only English at home. The data gained were analyzed for percent consonants and vowels correct, adult phonemes absent, developmental speech error patterns, number of English and Maltese words used, and the percentage of children using translation equivalents. The children who were reported to be only exposed to English at home were not compared statistically with other children because of the small number in that group. The data showed an increase in phonological competence over the age range and differences between children reported to be exposed to one as opposed to two languages at home. Many children, irrespective of reported home language context, used both English and Maltese during assessment. The results were interpreted as showing independent phonological systems that nevertheless interacted; a bilingual language learning context affected word naming language choice.
 
Article
Taking as its starting-point the total lack of data on infant code switching, this anonymously peer-reviewed article tackles three aspects of the question: methodological problems in the identification and analysis of infant switching incidences; the need for a qualitative, contextualised approach; and the provision of comprehensive new data. Carefully collected unique developmental data from two children was used to analyse over 50 switching incidences between age 1,3 and 3,0, each time checking the switch against the child’s actual lexical knowledge and the language context (German, English or bilingual). Surprisingly, results show that switching for emphatic effect appears as the earliest form, with sociolinguistically motivated switches appearing only gradually. Focusing on one aspect in early bilingualism, these results have implications for the theory of language acquisition in general, suggesting an earlier capacity for creative language manipulation than previously noted in the literature.
 
Article
This study is concerned with two phenomena of language alternation in biographic narrations in Yiddish and Low German, based on spoken language data recorded between 1988 and 1995. In both phenomena language alternation serves as an additional communicative tool which can be applied by bilingual speakers to enlarge their set of interactional devices in order to ensure a smoother or more pointed processing of communicative aims. The first phenomenon is a narrative strategy that I call Token Codeswitching: In a bilingual narrative culminating in a line of reported speech, a single element of L2 indicates the original language of the reconstructed dialogue—a token for a quote. The second phenomenon has to do with directing procedures, carried out by the speaker and aimed at guiding the hearer's attention, which are frequently carried out in L2, supporting the hearer's attention at crucial points in the interaction. Both phenomena are analyzed following a model of narrative discourse as proposed in the framework of Functional Pragmatics. The model allows the adoption of an integral approach to previous findings in codeswitching research.
 
Article
This paper analyses foreign language anxiety in the French L2 and English L3 speech production of 100 Flemish students. The findings suggest that foreign language anxiety is not a stable personality trait among experienced language learners. The societal as well as the individual contexts were found to determine levels of communicative anxiety. The perception of French as the former prestige language in Flanders and its function as a social marker was found to be linked to the participants' social class, which was, in turn, linked to levels of anxiety in French - but not in English. This social effect appeared to be a stronger predictor of communicative anxiety in French than three personality variables (extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism). Psychoticism, extraversion, and, to a lesser extent, neuroticism did however significantly predict levels of communicative anxiety in English L3 production. Students who scored high on the extraversion and psychoticism scales reported significant lower levels of communicative anxiety in English. Those who scored low on the neuroticism scale also tended to report lower levels of communicative anxiety in English. The same pattern emerged for communicative anxiety in French without reaching statistical significance.
 
CA / FLA levels in the L1, L2, L3, and L4
Article
The present study focuses on individual differences in levels of communicative anxiety (CA) and foreign language anxiety (FLA) in the first (L1), second (L2), third (L3) and fourth (L4) language of 106 adult language learners. Data were collected about CA/FLA levels when speaking with friends, with strangers, and speaking in public. The analyses revealed that multilinguals do experience more CA in stressful situations in their L1, but that levels of FLA are higher in languages learnt later in life. The knowledge of more languages was linked to lower levels of FLA in the L2. Female participants were only found to experience higher levels of CA in L1 public speech. Older participants tended to report higher levels of CA/FLA across languages. Rank orders for CA/FLA were significantly similar across the L1, L2, L3 and L4, which suggests that levels of CA/FLA are relatively stable and could be linked to a lower order personality trait such as emotional intelligence.
 
Baseline data 1001 90  
Summary of Error Data
Consonant accuracy prior to articulation therapy, at the conclusion of therapy, and after a four week break from therapy 100 1  
Article
This treatment case study presents a five-year-old bilingual Cantonese/English speaking boy with articulation and phonological errors. It reports two treatment phases: articulation therapy and phonological therapy. The articulation therapy was given in English and targeted the distorted production of /s/. The result was a perceptually acceptable pronunciation of /s/ in both English and Cantonese. The phonological therapy, also given in English, targeted cluster reduction, but it was only effective in treating English errors. The reduction of consonant clusters in Cantonese remained unchanged. These data have implications for two issues: the separateness of bilingual children's two phonological systems, and the differences between articulation and phonological errors.
 
Article
Provides an overview of the topic of this special issue of the journal--discourse markers in bilingual conversation. Introduces the studies included in the issue, which investigate discourse markers in bilingual conversation from a variety of perspectives. As a whole the articles document the phenomenon of language alternation at discourse markers in a variety of language pairs. (Author/VWL)
 
Article
Bilinguals typically show a cost of switching between their two languages. When asked to name single numerals rapidly and unpredictably in one or the other language, nonbalanced bilinguals demonstrate markedly slower responses on switch trials. This language switching cost is consistently larger when switching to the speaker's stronger, dominant language (L1), resulting in a crossover such that L 1 responses are slower. To ascertain the brain mechanisms mediating the control of language switching, switching was examined in a bilingual patient with frontal lobe damage and impaired control processes, FK. While FK showed RT language switching costs well within the normal range on successful switch trials into the dominant language, he made an inordinately high number of erroneous dominant language responses when required to switch from the dominant language to the nondominant language. In addition, FK showed comparatively greater difficulty in maintaining the nondominant language across trials. FK's deficits are attributed to problems in modulating inhibitory resources across trials in a dominant language system.
 
Article
This paper highlights prosody as a fundamental feature of bilingual conversation. My data show that syntactic structure does not impose constraints on codeswitching, as one prevalent line of inquiry regarding codeswitching claims, but rather certain discourse structures make codeswitching at any given point more or less cognitively and interactionally profitable according to conversationalists' ability to produce and comprehend information. My corpus consists of one hour of conversational data from four competent bilinguals of Mexican heritage living in Southern California yielding a total of 782 analyzable units. Using the transcription methods developed by Du Bois, Schuetze-Coburn, Paolino, and Cumming, (1993) wherein each line of transcription consists of one Intonation Unit (Chafe, 1979, 1987, 1993, 1994), the prevalent pattern which emerged was one in which speakers overwhelmingly switched at Intonation Unit boundaries. Using what I have termed the Switch-Boundary Intonation Unit (SBIU) as my unit of analysis and adapting the notion of completion points (Ford and Thompson, 1996; Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974), I examine intonation contour type, syntactic completion and constituency, and pragmatic completion in order to best characterize the codeswitching frame.
 
Article
This study deals with the sequential organization of language choice and code-switching between Persian as a first language and Swedish as a second language in the process of initiating and resolving a problem of understanding and producing the correct version of a lexical item. The data consist of detailed transcripts of audio tapings of two bilingual students' collaborative writing sessions within the frame of a one-year master's program in computer science in a multilingual setting at a Swedish university. The students, both Persianspeaking, are advanced speakers of Swedish as a second language. For this article, four lexical language-related episodes, where code-switching between Persian and Swedish occurs, are analyzed. The analyzed excerpts in this article are drawn from a corpus of data consisting of language-related episodes identified and transcribed in the audio tapings. We employ a conversation analysis (CA) approach for the analysis of bilingual interaction. This means that the meaning of the code-switching in the interaction is described in terms of both global (the conversational activity at large) and local interactional factors. In the analysis, a close step-by-step analysis of the turn-taking procedures demonstrates how the communicative meaning of the students' bilingual behavior in a lexical episode is determined in its local production in the emerging conversational context and how it can be explicated as part of the following social actions: drawing attention to a problem, seeking alliance when a problem is made explicit and confirming intersubjective understanding when the problem is resolved.
 
Article
This paper investigates whether bilinguals' and monolinguals' concepts of entities differ when the bilinguals' two languages provide two different representations of the same entity. Previous research shows that speakers of languages that have a grammatical gender system think of objects as being masculine or feminine in line with the grammatical gender of the objects' nouns. The present study investigates the effects of grammatical gender on concepts of objects in bilingual speakers of two languages that assign opposite gender to the same object. Italian-German bilingual children and Italian monolingual controls performed an on-line voice attribution task. All children were native speakers of Italian and living in Italy. Results show that Italian monolingual children attribute more female voices to objects whose noun is grammatically feminine in Italian. Monolinguals also show a preference for attributing voices consistently with Italian grammatical gender assignment. Italian-German bilingual children are not affected by Italian grammatical gender. It is argued that when the two languages of a bilingual represent a specific aspect of reality differently, the bilingual may develop different concepts from a monolingual. This is due to the knowledge of two specific languages rather than to bilingualism per se, and to linguistic rather than cultural factors.
 
Article
Most investigations of bilingual language development focus on children acquiring two European languages. Little research has investigated diverse language pairs or compared the influence of the first language on second language development. The study reported here compared the lexical skills of three groups of 11-year-old students from different language backgrounds. Two bilingual groups (first language Vietnamese or Samoan, second language English) and a monolingual control group matched for social class were compared on a series of tasks. The tasks examined English lexical comprehension and use, as well as single word processing on nonword tasks. The results showed that both bilingual groups performed significantly below their monolingual peers in all lexical tasks but not on nonword tasks. There were no differences between the two bilingual groups, despite the fact that the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of each were very different. The findings indicate that despite six years of formal schooling in English, including focused ESL support, bilingual students from both Vietnamese and Samoan cultural backgrounds perform less well than their peers in their understanding and use of the English lexicon. The implications of these findings for theory of bilingual language acquisition, assessment practice and educational policy are considered.
 
Article
An experiment investigated whether Japanese speakers’ categorisation of objects and substances as shape or material is influenced by acquiring English, based on Imai and Gentner (1997). Subjects were presented with an item such as a cork pyramid and asked to choose between two other items that matched it for shape (plastic pyramid) or for material (piece of cork). The hypotheses were that for simple objects the number of shape-based categorisations would increase according to experience of English and that the preference for shape and material-based categorisations of Japanese speakers of English would differ from mono¬lingual speakers of both languages. Subjects were 18 adult Japanese users of English who had lived in English-speaking countries between 6 months and 3 years (short-stay group), and 18 who had lived in English-speaking countries for 3 years or more (long-stay group). Both groups achieved above criterion on an English vocabulary test. Results were: both groups preferred material responses for simple objects and substances but not for complex objects, in line with Japanese mono¬linguals, but the long-stay group showed more shape preference than the short-stay group and also were less different from Americans. These effects of acquiring a second language on categorisation have implications for conceptual representation and methodology.
 
Article
This paper argues that the universal categories N/V are not applied to content words before the grammatical markings for reference D(eterminers) and predication I(nflection) have been acquired (van Kampen, 1997, contra Pinker, 1984). Child grammar starts as proto-grammar with language-specific operators and category-neutral content words X o . The first content words are used as proper names with topic-intention and as brand names with characterizing-intention. The language-specificity of early operators may be illustrated by the use of wh-pronouns (what/where?) in English versus the use of illocution particles ( nou/denn?) in Dutch/German child language. Subsequently, deictic operators for topic are regularized as D o and deictic operators for comment as I o . These functional categories are the bootstraps for category assignment <+V> and <+N>, as a subdivision of the lexicon. The generalized conclusion is that language-specific systems are not acquired due to a common UG entrance. They rather are highly frequent language-specific bootstraps that coax the child into an adult system that eventually fits UG principles. The operators in proto-grammar are situation-related, whereas the functional categories I o /D o are highly sensitive to syntactic context. This explains why, in a bilingual situation, a language switch in the context-free operators will be relatively easy. A language switch in functional categories, by contrast, will have a reflex on the syntactic context and be less easy.
 
Article
Learnability of the universal categories Noun and Verb from the language-specific categories Inflection and Determiner with examples from Dutch language acquisition.
 
Article
The present study was set up to evaluate the extent to which the context in which a foreign language is learned can influence the strategic competence of children. To assess this we conducted a series of think aloud protocols with 101 children. We compared children who have learned an additional language in a formal context (abbreviated LLE, i.e. Language Learning Experience) to those who have acquired two languages in a non-formal context and before the age of 4 (i.e. ‘simultaneous bilingual’ children, abbreviated nLLE, i.e. without a Language Learning Experience). The primary outcome measure consisted of the children’s reactions to situations of communication where they could not understand the language. We hypothesized that LLE children would outperform nLLE children in their awareness of and willingness to use communicative strategies. We found that LLE children accessed more strategies and diversified their strategies more often. These findings are in line with our previous findings and indicate that LLE is a highly relevant factor when studying the strategic competence of children.
 
Percentages of CS and CM by each child at T1 and T2 
Percentage of CS+CM by age between TO each language (collapsed data of T1 and T2) when the base language was either English, Hebrew or Spanish 
Article
This article reports on a study of the code-switches produced by two children who acquired their three languages in early childhood. We compared formal and functional aspects of their switches recorded at two different stages of their development. Of particular interest was the consideration of sociolinguistic variables that have intervened in the children’s environment. We undertook a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the children’s code-switches to ascertain the frequency of switching, the use of each of the three languages employed for switching and the linguistic complexity of the switches. We assumed that the sociolinguistic conditions that changed the linguistic landscape in which these children operated would be reflected not only in the development of each of their languages, but also in the kind of switches that they produced. We tried to establish whether it is the case that certain forms and functions of code-switches constitute a "core" of trilingual language behaviour while others are prone to change. Ultimately, our aim was to gain an insight into the specific trilingual language production processes over a given period of time that can shed light on the development and nature of trilingual competence.
 
Article
Most studies involving trilingualism have been carried out within the theoretical framework of bilingualism research. No attempt has been made to delimit trilingualism as a concept in its own right, and often it has been assumed to be an extension of bilingualism. In young children, trilingual language acquisition largely follows the path of bilingual acquisition. With regard to language behavior there are again similarities, but certain differences can be observed. As an overview of studies of individual trilingualism, the present article aims to provide a framework for the discussion. Models of bilingual language competence serve as a starting point to an investigation of possible defining features of trilingual competence. Of particular interest are the pragmatic component of language competence; the trilingual's ability to make appropriate linguistic choices in monolingual/bilingual/ trilingual communication modes; and observed codeswitching. The question of how and when a trilingual's languages become activated or deactivated leads to a consideration of language processing and metalinguistic awareness. In the absence of research involving trilinguals, bilingual models are examined with a view to pointing out possible similarities and differences. It is suggested that these are both of a quantitative and qualitative kind, and therefore trilingual competence is distinct from bilingual competence.
 
Article
A recurrent theme in the literature on trilingual language use is the question of whether there is a specific “trilingual competence.” In this paper we consider this question in the light of codeswitching patterns in two dyadic trilingual conversations between a mother and daughter conducted in (Lebanese) Arabic, French, and English. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of codeswitching in both conversants shows that, despite the fact that both subjects are fluent in all three languages, uses of switching are significantly different for mother and daughter across a number of features, including relative frequency of different switch types, and the incidence of hybrid constructions involving items from two or more languages. The subjects appear to display qualitatively distinct profiles of competence in the trilingual mode. This in turn leads to the conclusion that the facts of trilingual language use are best characterized in terms of “multicompetence” (Cook, 1991). The paper concludes with some further reflections on the uniqueness of trilingual language use (an “old chestnut” in trilingualism research, cf. Klein, 1995).
 
Article
Contact between languages usually leads to linguistic changes. Both social and structural factors are claimed to influence this process. This study analyzes word order in Turkish as spoken in the Netherlands (NL-Turkish). Turkish is an OV language but also allows other word order patterns (including VO) in certain pragmatic contexts. Dutch, on the other hand, is VO in main clauses. Due to contact, Turkish may be expected to increase its use of VO. From a comparison with Turkish as spoken in Turkey (TR-Turkish), it appeared that there is no increase of VO in NL-Turkish. However, we did find some deviations in the information structure characteristics of VO structures and sometimes these seem to be due to Dutch influence. On the other hand, TR-Turkish data also contained certain types of VO structures that further caution against hasty contact conclusions. We conclude that contact situations is need to be intense for sweeping syntactic change to occur, and that such change starts with changes in individual semi-lexical constructions.
 
Article
Introduces this special issue of the journal and reports on new directions in the research that began with code switching, but increasingly has come to include other types of language contact phenomena. The articles in the issue report on analyses and explanations for a variety of outcomes in bilingual production. (Author/VWL)
 
Article
A study published in 2010 reported on past and current language use of a group of older Dutch migrants in New Zealand. Dutch migrants were chosen because the researcher was herself a bilingual Dutch-English-speaking migrant and hence in a good position to understand respondents' background and assess their language use in both English and Dutch. Respondents interviewed for the study consisted of 30 retired Dutch migrants, all of whom had arrived in New Zealand between 1950 and 1965 when they were aged between 18 and 35 years. All respondents were living in the Greater Auckland area and were aged between 65 and 92 years at the time of the interview. All respondents were asked questions based on a sociolinguistic life questionnaire and asked about their language use and experiences since migration. Interviews were recorded, and information from interviews and questionnaires was supplemented by data collected from participants' adult children. This article will focus on respondents' comments in relation to their motivation to either maintain their first language (L1) Dutch or shift to their second language (L2) English in the home environment. It appears that external societal attitudes affected respondents' language use in a number of domains.
 
Article
Aim and objective The aim of this study is to show how different English single content morphemes, in particular nouns and adjectives, occur in the Persian structure by applying the Matrix Language Frame and 4M models. Methodology The data collection in the present study includes tape-recordings of spontaneous conversations involving 12 Persian–English bilingual speakers at a public university in Malaysia. The IELTS participants’ scores were 6.0 or higher and they were between 20 and 40 years old. Data and analysis Qualitatively, 8 hours of tape-recorded conversations were transcribed and coded carefully according to the Canonical Trilinear Representation. Quantitatively, the English content morphemes, especially nouns and adjectives, were analysed syntactically and morphosyntactically to show how they grammatically occur in the bilingual complementiser phrases. Findings and conclusions The findings of this study reveal that code-switching was permissible even when it led to structural dissimilarity. Wherever it was required by a Persian principle, the inserted English elements, particularly nouns and adjectives, received different Persian markers. They may also appear without any Persian marker where required by the Persian grammar. Moreover, the data supported the Matrix Language Frame and 4M models’ principles, Morpheme order principle and System morpheme principle, and no counterexample appeared against the mentioned models. Originality/significance/implication There are few studies on code-switching between Persian and English that focus on typological differences between the languages involved and the use of the Matrix Language Frame model and 4M model. Thus, the present study contributes knowledge in the field of code-switching between Persian and English and discusses how English single content morphemes, particularly nouns and adjectives, occur in the Persian structure by applying both the Matrix Language Frame model and 4M model as references.
 
Descriptives of mispronunciations: Overall occurrences of error sources (number of participants), examples error types.
Most common error source compared between monolingual and bilingual learners (occurrences and % out of overall errors, t-tests, effect size).
Article
Aims and Objectives We compared speech accuracy and pronunciation patterns between early learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) with different language backgrounds. We asked (1) whether linguistic background predicts pronunciation outcomes, and (2) if error sources and substitution patterns differ between monolinguals and heterogeneous bilinguals. Methodology Monolingual and bilingual 4th-graders ( N = 183) at German public primary schools participated in an English picture-naming task. We further collected linguistic, cognitive and social background measures to control for individual differences. Data and Analysis Productions were transcribed and rated for accuracy and error types by three independent raters. We compared monolingual and bilingual pronunciation accuracy in a linear mixed-effects regression analysis controlling for background factors at the individual and institutional level. We further categorized all error types and compared their relative frequency as well as substitution patterns between different language groups. Findings After background factors were controlled for, bilinguals (irrespective of specific L1) significantly outperformed their monolingual peers on overall pronunciation accuracy. Irrespective of language background, the most frequent error sources overlapped, affecting English sounds which are considered marked, are absent from the German phoneme inventory, or differ phonetically from a German equivalent. Originality This study extends previous work on bilingual advantages in other domains of EFL to less researched phonological skills. It focuses on overall productive skills in young FL learners with limited proficiency and provides an overview over the most common error sources and substitution patterns in connection to language background. Significance/Implications The study highlights that bilingual learners may deploy additional resources in the acquisition of target language phonology that should be addressed in the foreign language classroom.
 
Mean hours per week children attend preschool at 30, 36, 42, 48, and 60 months.
Mean hours per week of English exposure from a grandparent, during preschool, and
Mean hours per week of English exposure from a Grandparent from 30 to 60 months, as a function of Parents' Native Language Background.
Article
Purpose The purpose of the present study was to document the out-of-home exposure to English and Spanish experienced by children from Spanish-speaking homes in the United States during the preschool years. Methodology Primary caregivers of 149 children from Spanish-speaking homes in South Florida reported on their children’s language exposure. Data and analysis Descriptive statistics and paired-samples t-tests described and compared children’s exposure to English and Spanish outside the home. Multi-level modeling described trajectories of change and the influence of family characteristics on English and Spanish out-of-home exposure. Findings Children heard more English than Spanish outside of their homes. Grandparents were the primary out-of-home source of exposure to Spanish. Language exposure in preschool and extracurricular activities was primarily English. From 30 to 60 months, English exposure increased, while Spanish exposure decreased. Within this general pattern, there was variability in children’s out-of-home language exposure as a function of parents’ language backgrounds and maternal education. Originality Studies of bilingual children’s language exposure have focused on home language use. The present study shows that out-of-home experiences are a significant source of exposure to societal language (SL) for children from language minority homes. Implications For children in immigrant families, the home and family members outside the home are the primary sources of heritage language exposure. Out-of-home language experience is SL-dominant and increasingly so as children get older, although the degree to which this is the case differs depending on parental characteristics.
 
Article
In this article we address the issue of language and globalization by focusing on the use of international brand names and English in the linguistic landscape of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiopia has been at the margins of the world economy; however, in the past decade Addis Ababa has witnessed a promising emerging economy, with many new international corporations investing in the country. The linguistic landscape is increasingly marked by the use of English, not only in general signage but also through international brand names and advertising. Moreover, a curious phenomenon has evolved in which international brand names and logos are used locally and are imparted an Ethiopian identity. The article highlights a particular case of cloning an international brand that touches on the discourse of national identity and development. The use of both English and international brand names in the linguistic landscape is perceived by locals as prestigious, indexing their aspirations towards modernity in this capital of the global South, with the notion of mobility covering not only geographical movement but also movement on a social scale. In conclusion, we relate our findings to a theoretical approach that aims to capture language in late modernity.
 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this study was to compare oral and written language abilities in English and Spanish of young bilinguals residing in the USA. Methodology Sixty-two participants (mean age = 23.7; SD = 3.50), consisting of 42 bilinguals (born of Spanish-speaking parents) and 20 English monolinguals, were administered a battery of 15 language tasks. Analysis Bilinguals were divided into two groups: (a) US-born (simultaneous bilinguals who had been exposed to English and Spanish since birth and educated primarily in English) and (b) Latin American-born (early sequential bilinguals who were educated in Spanish and English, although exposed to Spanish at birth and to English before the age of 10). Findings Higher lexical ability was demonstrated in English compared to Spanish in bilinguals. Performance in grammar tests of the two languages was inconsistent. Reading/writing ability in English was similar for participants born in the USA and in Latin America; however, participants who were born in Latin America had significantly higher scores for Spanish reading/writing tasks. When comparing performance in English tests, it was found that scores for bilingual participants were similar to those of English monolinguals. Originality The current study directly compares oral and written language abilities in two subgroups of young Spanish/English bilinguals. Three language dimensions are studied: lexicon/grammar; oral/written language; and language knowledge/language use. Implications Our results suggest that bilingualism does not interfere with normal linguistic ability in English. Limitations The current study was carried out in a specific bilingual context. Generalization of these results should be done with caution.
 
Demographic statistics for participants.
Spearman's rank correlations between key variables.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between language experience, nonverbal cognitive abilities, and English and Spanish semantics skills in 4–6 year-old bilingual children with typical development compared to bilingual children with language impairments (LIs). Methodology Participants were 57 Spanish–English bilingual children (ages 4:0–6:11) with typical development ( n = 35) or LIs ( n = 22). Parents provided demographic information and detailed information about their child’s language input (exposure) and output (use). Children’s nonverbal intelligence quotient and processing speed abilities and English and Spanish semantic abilities (SAs) were measured using standardized assessments. Data and Analysis Nonparametric statistical analyses were used to examine relationships between variables across two groups (children with typical development and children with LIs) and across Spanish and English semantic skills. Findings Processing speed showed a significant, moderate correlation with Spanish and English semantic abilities in both groups; however, language experience variables showed weak, non-significant associations with SAs. Originality This study is the first to investigate the relationships between both language experience factors as well as nonverbal cognitive and processing skills and the SAs of bilingual children with typical development and LIs. Implications This research furthers understanding of the environmental and child-internal influences on SAs in bilingual children with and without LIs.
 
Descriptive statistics for narrative measures by language group.
Article
Aims and objectives The objective of this study was to examine the narrative ability of two subgroups of English Language Learners (ELLs) relative to a group of English monolingual (EL1) peers. Specifically, we investigated whether the three groups of children differed on measures of narrative macrostructure and microstructure. Methodology Two groups of ELLs were identified on the basis of parent report of the language most often heard and spoken at home (ELL English language users, ELL minority language users). A group of monolingual English children served as a comparison group ( n = 25 per language group). The children averaged 56 months of age. All children completed a narrative retell task. Data and analysis The retell task was scored in relation to macrostructure (narrative information) and microstructure (number of utterances, mean length of utterance, number of different words, grammaticality). ANCOVAs, partialling out age and memory, revealed distinct performance profiles for the two ELL groups. Findings There were no group differences on the number of utterances or story grammar. However, the performance of the ELL minority language group was significantly different from that of the EL1 and the ELL English language group on all microstructure measures (number of different words, sentence length, and grammaticality). Overall, the performance of the ELL English language users was indistinguishable from the EL1 group. Originality The study highlights the heterogeneity in an ELL kindergarten sample with respect to English narrative ability, based on the extent to which English was heard and spoken at home. Implications The findings highlight the need to gather detailed linguistic information about the home language environments of ELL children when involving them in language- or literacy-related tasks. An important implication of this information is the potential to lead to more nuanced expectations or teaching methods for subgroups of ELL children.
 
Article
Aim and objectives/purpose/research questions The study aims at conducting a comprehensive examination of the initial stages of narrative development in both languages of typically developing Norwegian-Russian simultaneous bilinguals. The objective of the study was to investigate whether narrative structure (macrostructure) and narrative productivity (microstructure) are language-dependent abilities (cf. The Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis) and to explore language exposure effects on the narrative composites. Design/methodology/approach The Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives was used to assess narrative comprehension and production in preschool Norwegian-Russian children ( N = 16, M = 4;6) as well as in Norwegian- ( N = 16, M = 4;5) and Russian monolinguals ( N = 16, M = 4;5). Data and analysis Multiple regression and correlation analysis was conducted to establish the relationship between the narrative macro- and microstructure in bilinguals and through the bilingual–monolingual comparison. In addition, more detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis at each level was performed. Individual bilingual children’s data were also considered. Findings/conclusions Overall the comparison of the narrative macro- and microstructure in the two languages of bilinguals supports the Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis. Norwegian-Russian children’s ability to compose and especially understand a story is equally developed in both languages. Exposure effects revealing the superiority of Norwegian, the majority language, are found primarily for microstructure measures. The complete picture is achieved through the bilingual–monolingual comparison, which suggests that narrative abilities in the minority language are sensitive to the amount of exposure and their acquisition can be vulnerable. Originality and significance/implications The study provides new evidence on bilinguals’ narrative abilities in a previously unstudied language combination. The new evidence contributes to better understanding of the initial stages of narrative development in typically developing simultaneous bilinguals and establishing the norms for the relevant abilities. Importantly, the study highlights the importance of examining language data in both languages of a bilingual child.
 
Means and standard deviations (SD) of participant characteristics, and differences by group.
Article
Aims and objectives/purpose/research questions This study investigated whether the studying abroad bilingual experience among unevenly balanced Chinese–English bilinguals exerted influence on cognitive control. Design/methodology/approach We compared cognitive control differences between a group of Chinese–English bilinguals (n = 30) studying abroad in the USA and a control bilingual group (n = 30) studying at home in mainland China by administering the Flanker task and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). The two groups were matched on demographic variables including age, socioeconomic status (SES), intelligence, etc. Data and analysis A mixed ANOVA was applied to the Flanker task data, with the task condition as the within-subject variable and the participant group as the between-subject variable. Independent t-test analyses were used to compare performance differences between groups on the WCST. Findings/conclusions The two groups performed similarly on the Flanker task, whereas the group studying abroad fared better on the WCST, indicating better mental set shifting. Originality This is the first study to show that the experience of studying abroad brings about cognitive control advantage in mental set shifting. Significance/implications The current research provides the first evidence that the experience of studying abroad is related to the enhancement of cognitive control, which has implications for both cognitive development and international education.
 
Mean response times (in ms) for the recognition task.  
Article
The purpose of the current work was to investigate whether wordtype moderates the learning of vocabulary words in a new language. English-speaking monolinguals were trained on a matched set of concrete (e. g., jewel), emotion (e. g., angry), and abstract (e. g., virtue) words in Spanish. Participants learned a set of Spanish words and then engaged in a Stroop color-word task where they determined the color in which the words appeared (none were related to color). They also engaged in a translation recognition task where foils included semantic associates of the newly acquired word. Results indicated that although the semantic representations of all three wordtypes were acquired, there was a gradient in the degree to which those meanings were automatically activated. The pattern of data indicated that newly learned emotion words vs. non-emotion words produced faster color naming times, longer recognition times, and higher error rates in recognition.
 
Production Model illustrating election of morphemes for:  
Article
Purpose: This paper offers an overview of the 4-M model from its inception, but pays special attention to how the characterization of morpheme types in the model has evolved. A new proposal is that the level at which morpheme types are “elected” in an abstract model of language production is a critical factor in predicting morpheme distribution across languages in bilingual data. Methodology: A new addition to the model, the Variable Election Hypothesis, predicts which language is likely to be the source of morphemes in certain structures in bilingual speech, based on how they are elected. Data and analysis: Data from available codeswitching literature illustrate the classification of morphemes according to the 4-M model and test this new hypothesis. Much of the analysis focuses on the role of Embedded Language nonfinite verb forms and the structure of mixed determiner phrases (DPs), as well as subordinators in codeswitching data. Findings: Both the 4-M model and the Variable Election Hypothesis make predictions for the source and relative frequency of morpheme types observed in the codeswitching literature. The paper provides evidence that, in bilingual constituents in codeswitching, the frequency of certain morpheme types depends on how they are elected at an abstract level of language production. Originality: The emphasis on the abstract nature of morphemes constitutes a new approach to studying language contact. Implications: These predictions could also apply to other types of contact data, such as borrowing and creole development.
 
Multivariate three-level regression analysis. Associations between language background and academic achievement.
Multivariate three-level regression analysis. Associations between language use and academic achievement.
Article
Aims and objectives As some Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) studies claimed that native speaking (NS) students outperform language minority (LMi) students, far-reaching inferences have been drawn by policymakers. However, previous PISA assessments were not appropriate because they only included a dichotomous home language variable. The main objective of this study is to gain a better understanding of how students’ language background and use are related to academic achievement. Design The PISA data from 2012 provides a unique opportunity to fill this research lacuna as it includes a more elaborated questionnaire on language background and use. Data and analysis Multivariate three-level analyses are conducted on PISA 2012 data from 18 countries, covering about 5,000 schools and 120,000 students. Findings The results show that there is an achievement gap between LMi and NS students for both reading and math. After controlling for students and school characteristics, the LMi–NS achievement gap narrows, but remains significant. This holds true for most countries. However, language use per se is not the cause of underachievement: LMi students who more often speak a minority language with their parents do not achieve less. In some countries, speaking a minority language more often with parents is actually positively related to math and reading achievement. Nevertheless, speaking the instruction language in the school context is positively associated with math and reading achievement. Originality and significance This study revealed that the relation between language use and academic achievement is more complex than it was conceptualized in most previous PISA studies. Scholars need to go beyond the dichotomous approach to achieve a better understanding of language use. Our results show that linguistic diversity could function as an asset for academic performance, at least if a good balance between focus on minority languages at home and instruction language at school can be found.
 
Listeners
Mixed effects logistic regression: accuracy
Mixed effects logistic regression: confidence
Mixed effects logistic regression: accuracy & confidence
Article
Aims The purpose of this research was to gain a better understanding of accent perception in language contact situations in which monolingual speakers of a contact variety and bilinguals live in the same community. Design We investigated the English accents of monolinguals and bilinguals from the same area in South-West Wales, and listeners’ perceptions thereof, in three inter-related studies. Data In Study 1, an accent perception experiment, participants from four different listener groups were asked to differentiate English monolinguals and Welsh–English bilinguals on the basis of short English speech samples. In Study 2, the same participants’ views about differences between the accentual features of monolinguals and bilinguals were examined in individual structured interviews. Finally, in Study 3, the speech samples from the accent perception experiment were analysed phonetically based on the accentual features mentioned in Study 2. Findings Study 1 revealed that monolinguals and bilinguals can be identified above chance based on their English accent, but performance was unexceptional. Identification was better with greater accent familiarity, but unrelated to the listener’s ability to speak Welsh. Study 2 revealed the specific segmental and suprasegmental features that the listeners considered indicative of monolingual and bilingual speakers’ English accents, while Study 3 showed that only some of the listeners’ views are consistent with the production data from Study 1. Originality This paper is the first to examine whether monolinguals and bilinguals from a bilingual area with historical language contact can be identified on the basis of their majority language accent, and on what grounds these identifications are made. Implications This research shows that settings in which minority-language features originate from both historical language contact and individual bilingualism yield subtle accentual differences in the majority language between monolinguals and bilinguals to which even listeners from the same accent background may not be responsive.
 
Article
This study investigates perceived accent in the two early-acquired languages of 21 adult-aged bilinguals with Italian as the heritage language (HL) and German as the majority language (ML). We test the relative ability of ‘AoO in German’ (range=0-6 years) and ‘Italian use’ to predict perceived nativeness in Italian and German. Two accent rating experiments were carried out (one in each language) comparing the bilingual speech samples to those of monolingual and L2 control groups. The samples were rated by German and Italian-speaking judges for foreign accent (‘yes’ or ‘no’) and for degree of certainty (‘certain, ‘semi-certain’, ‘uncertain’). The effects of ‘AoO in German’ and ‘Italian Use’ (operationalized as an Italian Use Score) were analysed using correlational analyses and logistic regression. Our results show that almost all bilinguals were indistinguishable from monolingual controls in German, and that their perceived accent in Italian lay somewhere between that of the monolingual and L2 controls. Based on regression analyses, we conclude that a later introduction of the ML has neither a negative effect on the ML itself, nor does it show up advantages in the HL. Instead, how native-like the HSs sound in the HL largely depends on HL use. No negative effects of HL use are found for German.
 
Article
Aims and objectives In this study, we investigated crosslinguistic influence in the phonetic systems of simultaneous bilinguals (2L1s) during adulthood. Methodology Specifically, we analyzed the voice onset time (VOT) of the voiceless stop /k/ in the spontaneous speech of 14 German–French bilinguals who grew up in France or Germany. We looked at both languages, first comparing the groups, second comparing their VOT to their global accent. Data and analysis The material consisted of interviews, lasting for about half an hour. Findings/conclusions Most 2L1s showed distinct VOT-ranges in their two languages, even if they were perceived to have a foreign accent in the minority language of their childhood environment. We conclude that the phonetic systems of 2L1s remain separate and stable throughout the lifespan. However, the 2L1s from France had significantly shorter VOTs in German than the 2L1s from Germany, and their speech was overall more accented. These findings are discussed with respect to the role of intra- and extra-linguistic factors. Originality Our study adds a new perspective to existing VOT studies of bilinguals by using naturalistic speech data and by comparing two groups of 2L1s who have the same language combination but grew up in different countries, which allows us to evaluate the impact of their childhood environment on VOT development. Significance/implications Language exposure during childhood seems to be beneficial for pronunciation during adulthood.
 
Article
Research question We address the question of whether the cognitive advantage of the bilingual mind, already demonstrated in the case of auditory processing or novel word acquisition, also applies to other linguistic domains, specifically to phonetic and phonological learning. Design We compare the performance of 17 monolinguals and 25 bilinguals from Canada in a production experiment with two tasks: imitation and spontaneous reproduction of a novel foreign accent, specifically Sussex English. Data and analysis To eliminate potential sources of variability, our focus is on a sound already existing in the subjects’ production (the glottal stop), but differently mapped to surface representations in the novel accent to which they were exposed (i.e., as an allophone of coronal stops in word-final position). We measured the glottal stop rates of our subjects in baseline, training, and post-training. Results The two groups behaved differently, with bilinguals showing a larger increase of their glottal stop rate post-training. Our results are thus consistent with a bilingual advantage in phonetic and phonological learning. Originality We interpret these findings in light of recent psycholinguistic work and conclude that echoic memory strategies, possibly underlain by stronger subcortical encoding of sound in bilinguals, may account for our results by facilitating the re-mapping between existing mental representations of sounds and existing articulatory command configurations. Significance Our study adds to the body of work suggesting that there may be an advantage of bilingualism in second dialect learning in adulthood, and provides an explanation in terms of perceptual strategies in which echoic memory is involved. We also contribute to the body of research suggesting that imitation of an action can result in improved understanding of that action.
 
Article
Aims and Objectives Mutual exclusivity refers to children’s assumption that there are one-to-one correspondences between words and their referents. It is proposed to guide the process of fast-mapping when children encounter novel words in referentially ambiguous situations. However, children are often required to suspend this default assumption and accept lexically overlapping labels, which is particularly common for bilingual children who learn multiple labels for most referents in their environment. Previous research has shown that school-aged bilinguals are more successful at learning overlapping labels than monolinguals, but the mechanisms underlying the development of this word-learning ability remain unknown. Methodology This study investigated the ability to accept lexical overlap in monolingual and bilingual two-and-a-half-year-old children and its relation to children’s lexical competence. Children’s ability to retain two novel labels assigned to a novel referent was assessed in an interactive lexical overlap paradigm. In addition, parental inventories were used to measure children’s receptive vocabulary size and patterns of language exposure and use. Data and analysis Data were collected from 68 (34 monolingual and 34 bilingual) children between 26 and 34 months of age. Binomial logistic regressions were used to assess the effects of children’s language background and their individual lexical competence (receptive vocabulary for monolinguals and bilinguals, and conceptual vocabulary size and degree of bilingualism for bilinguals). Findings Results showed that vocabulary size was a significant predictor of lexical overlap performance for monolingual children, but this was not the case for bilinguals. Originality These findings are the first to indicate that the individual linguistic experience of growing up monolingual or bilingual shapes the mechanisms that underlie the development and usage patterns of early word-learning strategies. Limitations This study leaves open the question of what aspect of growing up bilingual leads children to develop word-learning strategies that are shaped by their linguistic experience.
 
Top-cited authors
Jason Rothman
  • University of Reading
Aneta Pavlenko
  • University of Oslo
Antonella Sorace
  • The University of Edinburgh
Adrian Blackledge
  • University of Birmingham
Peter Auer
  • University of Freiburg