Language acquisition (2)

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Slides from a lecture looking at language acquisition with a focus on the development of bilingualism.

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  • Bilingualism Clive McGoun
  • Language acquisition (2)

    1. 1. Language Acquisition Bilingualism CliveMcGoun 1
    2. 2. Bilingualism • True or False? • Learning more than one language confuses a child and lowers his/her IQ? • A child should learn one language properly before learning a second one. • A person cannot be a real bilingual if he learns a second language late. • Bilinguals have to translate from their weaker to their stronger language. • Learning two languages may cause cultural identity problems for a child. CliveMcGoun 2
    3. 3. Bilingualism • Why do we study bilingualism? • A large proportion of the world’s population knows and uses more than one language on a regular basis. Multilingualism is the norm. More than 140 languages are spoken in Manchester. Language planning (social and educational policy) is a political issue often based on academic research. • Topics in bilingualism • Who is bilingual? What is a native language? • How does a child acquire two languages? • How does bilingualism influence a human being’s intellectual and mental growth? • When and how should we learn a second language? • Does a bilingual’s brain function differently from a monolingual’s brain? • How and when do bilinguals switch from one language to the other? CliveMcGoun 3
    4. 4. Bilingualism • Approaches • Linguistics – studies the structure and development of the two languages • Psycholinguistics – studies the psychological basis of bilingual’s language competence and performance • Sociolinguistics – looks at how cultures/social groups affect language performance and language choice • Neurolinguistics – studies the relationship between language and the brain CliveMcGoun 4
    5. 5. Definitions • Individual bilingualism vs Societal bilingualism • Bilingualism as an individual attribute: apsychological state of an individual who has access to two language codes to serve communication purposes. • Bilingualism as a societal attribute: two languages are used in a community and that a number of individuals can use two languages. • Should bilingualism be defined at an individual or a societal level? CliveMcGoun 5
    6. 6. Definitions • 5 dimensions • Cognitive organisation of two languages • Age of acquisition • Language proficiency • Sequence of acquistion of two languages • Societal factors CliveMcGoun 6 Individual characteristics
    7. 7. Compound vs. Coordinate Bilinguals • Compound bilingual: • Has one semantic system but two linguistic codes. Usually refers to someone whose two languages are learnt at the same time, often in the same context. • Coordinate bilingual: • Has two semantic systems and two linguistic codes. Usually refers to someone whose two languages are learnt in distinctively separate contexts • Subordinate bilingual: • The weaker language is interpreted through the stronger language CliveMcGoun 7
    8. 8. The mental lexicon of monolinguals Semantic system Has wings Has feathers Can fly Language code Orange Apple Apple Bird naranja mansana mansana pajaro Clive McGoun 8
    9. 9. The mental lexicon of bilinguals CliveMcGoun 9 Semantic system Semantic System 1 Semantic System 2 English Spanish English Spanish Compound bilingual Coordinate bilingual
    10. 10. The mental lexicon of bilinguals CliveMcGoun 10 Semantic system English Spanish Subordinate bilingual
    11. 11. The mental lexicon of bilinguals CliveMcGoun 11 Semantic System 1 English Spanish Semantic System 2 English Spanish Semantic System 2 Semantic System 1
    12. 12. The mental lexicon of bilinguals • Whether there are two or more systems depends on: • Age of acquisition • Learning/teaching method • Similarities and differences between the two languages CliveMcGoun 12
    13. 13. Early vs. Late bilinguals • Early bilingual: • someone who has acquired two languages early in childhood (usually received systematic training/learning of a second language before age 6). • Late bilingual: • someone who has become a bilingual later than childhood (after age 12). • Discussion: Is there a “critical period” for second language learning? CliveMcGoun 13
    14. 14. Early vs. Late bilinguals CliveMcGoun 14 How do we determine the age of acquisition?
    15. 15. Balanced vs. Dominant bilinguals • Balanced bilingual: • someone whose mastery of two languages is roughly equivalent. • Dominant bilingual: • someone with greater proficiency in one of his or her languages and uses it significantly more than the other language. • Semilingual: • someone with insufficient knowledge of either language. CliveMcGoun 15
    16. 16. Successive vs. Simultaneous bilinguals • Successive bilingualism: • Learning one language after already knowing another. This is the situation for all those who become bilingual as adults, as well as for many who became bilingual earlier in life. Sometimes also called consecutive bilingualism. • Simultaneous bilingualism: • Learning two languages as "first languages". That is, a person who is a simultaneous bilingual goes from speaking no languages at all directly to speaking two languages. Infants who are exposed to two languages from birth will become simultaneous bilinguals. • Receptive bilingualism: • Being able to understand two languages but express oneself in only one. This is generally not considered "true" bilingualism but is a fairly common situation. CliveMcGoun 16
    17. 17. Additive vs. Subtractive bilinguals • Additive bilingual: • The learning of a second language does not interfere with the learning of a first language. Both languages are well developed. • Subtractive bilingual: • The learning a second language interferes with the learning of a first language. The second language replaces the first language. • Additive or subtractive bilingualism is related to the different status associated with the two languages in a society. CliveMcGoun 17
    18. 18. Elite vs. Folk bilinguals • Elite bilingual: • Individuals who choose to have a bilingual home, often in order to enhance social status. • Folk bilingual: • Individuals who develop second language capacity under circumstances that are not often of their own choosing, and in conditions where the society does not value their native language. CliveMcGoun 18
    19. 19. Summary: Definitions • Coordinate vs. Compound bilingualism • Early vs. Late bilingualism • Balanced vs. Dominant bilingualism • Simultaneous vs. Successive bilingualism • Additive vs. Subtractive bilingualism • Elite vs. Folk bilingualism CliveMcGoun 19
    20. 20. Language acquisition of bilingual children • Bilingual acquisition is a complex phenomenon. • Monolingual children usually learn language from parents. But bilingual children may learn languages not only from parents but also from grandparents, playmates, babysitters, childcare, school teachers and TV. • Their exposure to languages fluctuate over time and situation/environment. • Childhood bilingualism is poorly understood by many and regarded with scepticism by others. CliveMcGoun 20
    21. 21. Language acquisition of bilingual children • Compared to monolingual children, bilingual children have less exposure to each of their languages and, therefore, they never master either language fully and never become as proficient as monolingual children. • How do we measure language proficiency? • How do we determine if bilingual children’s language development is normal? CliveMcGoun 21
    22. 22. Language acquisition of bilingual children • Compared to monolingual children, bilingual children have less exposure to each of their languages and, therefore, they never master either language fully and never become as proficient as monolingual children. • How do we measure language proficiency? • How do we determine if bilingual children’s language development is normal? CliveMcGoun 22
    23. 23. Language acquisition of bilingual children • Young bilingual children may know fewer words in one or both of their languages in comparison with monolingual children of the same age. • This is understandable because young children have limited cognitive / memory capacities, and bilingual children must store words from two languages, not just one. • Also, because bilingual children learn words in each language from different people, they sometimes know certain words in one language but not in the other. CliveMcGoun 23
    24. 24. Language acquisition of bilingual children • When adding the vocabulary that bilingual children know in both languages, they generally know the same number of or even more words as their monolingual peers. • Even when differences like these occur, they are short term and are likely to disappear by the time the children begin school. • Bilingual children's overall proficiency in each language reflects the amount of time they spend in each. CliveMcGoun 24
    25. 25. Will learning two languages confuse children/ • Young bilingual children often mix the two languages andcannot keep them separate. • Language mixing is taken as evidence that learning two languages confuses children. • Mixing: a fusion of two languages with the inability to differentiate one language from the other. • Mixing happens most frequently during early phase of language development, before or around age 2;0 (years; months), whereas later on, bilingual children can easily separate the two linguistic systems. CliveMcGoun 25
    26. 26. Will learning two languages confuse children • Phonological mixing • Kats – Katt (swedish) & Kass (Estonia) • [both katt and kass mean ‘cat’ in English] • Lexical mixing • I want mansana • [I want apple] • Semantic mixing • I lost the bus • [lost = missed in Spanish] • Syntactic mixing • A house red • [colour adjectives follow the noun in Spanish] CliveMcGoun 26
    27. 27. Will learning two languages confuse children • Children mix because they are confused by learning two languages? or, • Because they lack the appropriate items in one language but have them in the other language? Unitary language system hypothesis Vs. Separate language system hypothesis CliveMcGoun 27
    28. 28. Unitary language system hypothesis • A 3-stage model for early bilingual development proposed by Volterra & Taeschner, 1978: • I. the bilingual child has only one lexical system comprising words from both languages [1.6-2.1] • II. development of two distinct lexical systems although the child applies “the same syntactic rules to both languages” [2.5-3.3] • III. differentiation of two linguistic systems, lexical as well as syntactic [2.9-311] CliveMcGoun 28
    29. 29. Unitary language system hypothesis • Bilingual children first have a single fused linguistic representation. • They begin to differentiate their two native languages by age • 3;0. • Implication: Young bilinguals have language delay relative to monolinguals. • Support for this hypothesis: Volterra & Taeschner (1978) • Young bilinguals in the one-word stage acquire words mostly in one but not both languages. e.g., if the word ` bird ' is acquired one language, it is not acquired in the other language. • This suggests that young bilinguals do not initially differentiate between their two native vocabularies. CliveMcGoun 29
    30. 30. Unitary language system hypothesis • Challenges to this hypothesis • Bilingual children mix because they lack appropriate lexical items in one language but have them in the other language. Thus, they borrow vocabularies from the other language. • Mixing declines as a child comes to recognize adult-imposed standards of behaviour and shows awareness of his own ability to meet them. • Slobin (1972, 1973) argues that bilingual children mix because of acquisitional strategies that are independent of language CliveMcGoun 30
    31. 31. Separate language system hypothesis • Genesee F. (1989, Journal of Child Language) argued that: • “...contrary to most extant interpretations, bilingual children develop differentiated language systems from the beginning and are able to use their developing languages in contextually sensitive ways. A call for more serious attention to the possible role of parental input in the form of mixed utterances is made.” CliveMcGoun 31
    32. 32. Separate language system hypothesis • According to Genesee: • “The most proficient bilinguals mix the most and in the most sophisticated ways without violating the rules of either language. It is normal for children growing up in these communities to mix their languages extensively because they are simply learning the patterns of communication that are common in their community. It can be difficult and unnatural, if not impossible, to keep the languages completely separate. If most people in the children's wider community use only one language, the children will eventual learn the monolingual patterns.” CliveMcGoun 32
    33. 33. Separate language system hypothesis • The language mixing seen in bilingual children is constrained by grammatical rules. • Influenced by sociolinguistic factors such as language mixing pattern of parents. • Language mixing is not a consequence of confusion but instead demonstrates the bilingual child's distinct representations of the two languages from an early age. CliveMcGoun 33
    34. 34. Project ideas • Interview a group of polyglots and childhood bilinguals. Are there experiences of interference between languages the same or different? • Use your findings to examine the unitary vs. separate language system hypthesis. CliveMcGoun 34
    35. 35. Project ideas • Interview parents of children being brought up bilingually. What kind of bilinguals are they? • Compare your findings with the definitions offered in this lecture/in the literature CliveMcGoun 35
    36. 36. Project ideas • Interview a group of international students at MMU. Investigate their experiences of bilingualism with particular reference to ‘mixing’ languages. Where, when, and what is the significance of their ‘mixing’. CliveMcGoun 36
    37. 37. Attack on ‘racist’ census of bilingual students • Teachers of bilingual pupils in Glasgow have claimed that a Scottish Executive programme asking them to categorise youngsters according to their fluency in English is "educationally nonsensical and institutionally racist". EAL (English as an additional language) and bilingual support teachers are concerned that the programme, which requires them to assess bilingual pupils as being in one of five categories, will damage race equality. The Glasgow local association of the Education Institute of Scotland is calling on the union's national officers to intervene with the Scottish Executive and to clarify with the Commission for Racial Equality whether the initiative contravenes race relations laws. Around 9 % of Glasgow's school population is bilingual - a mixture of Scots-born ethnic minorities, families attached to universities and others who have come to the city as asylum- seekers. • (TES 9th September 2005) CliveMcGoun 37
    38. 38. Project ideas • Interview a teacher of a heritage language in Manchester for his/her views and experiences in the light of this quote. CliveMcGoun 38
    39. 39. Reading • Fromkin and Rodman An Introduction to Language pp 374-383 • The Bilingualism Reader London Routledge 2000 edited by Li Wei • Bilingualism [electronic resource] : beyond basic principles edited by Jean-Marc Dewaele, Alex Housen, and Li Wei Multilingual Matters, 2003 • http://www.ivanmoody.co.uk/bilingualism.htm • http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Research/lostop3.html CliveMcGoun 39

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