Input factors, language experiences and metalinguistic awareness in bilingual children

Cohen, C 2011, Input factors, language experiences and metalinguistic awareness in bilingual children , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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Previous studies have examined either the input factors predicting language proficiency in bilingual children or the relationship between bilingualism and metalinguistic awareness. This thesis takes a novel approach exploring the two areas simultaneously. A study was conducted to investigate, first, the input factors that may cause variation in bilingual language proficiency and, secondly, the effects of differing levels of bilingualism on metalinguistic awareness. The participants were 38 French-English bilingual children aged six to eight, of middle to high socio-economic status, attending an international school in France. Data on the children's language experiences and family background were collected through questionnaires given to parents and children. Language proficiency was measured using the standardised French and English versions of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. Metalinguistic awareness was assessed through seven metalinguistic tasks each given in both languages. The findings are discussed in relation to Bialystok's (1986a) analysis and control framework and Cummins' (1976) threshold hypothesis. The results indicated a strong association between language exposure estimates and language proficiency measures for each language. Furthermore, the child's stronger language was shown to be a reliable predictor of variables related to language use, including the language used with peers and the language the child finds easier to speak. The results for metalinguistic awareness were generally consistent with Bialystok's and Cummins' predictions. High level balanced bilinguals outperformed dominant bilinguals on high control tasks and on certain analysis tasks, but only when the child's best score, sometimes coming from the weaker language, was considered. A strong relationship was found between the language proficiency measures and the analysis tasks. Likewise, children scoring above the median on each of the Peabody tests generally outperformed those scoring below on analysis tasks. Overall, the results indicate that proficiency in each language, as well as degree of bilingualism, impact on metalinguistic awareness.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Hoffmann, C (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:00

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