The relationship between bilingual experience and the development of morphological and morpho-syntactic awareness: a cross-linguistic study of classroom discourse Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • © 2015 Taylor & Francis. This study aims to examine the relationship between bilingual experience and children's development of morphological and morpho-syntactic awareness. To capture both universal and language-specific bilingual effects, the study included four groups of participants: English-speaking children from a general education programme, Spanish-speaking and English-speaking children from a Spanish–English dual-language programme, and Chinese-speaking children from a Chinese–English dual-language programme. Findings from the analyses of teacher talk and measures of morphological and morpho-syntactic awareness show that certain aspects of morphological awareness, such as the ability to decipher derived words, were likely to be affected by both instruction and cross-language transfer, while others, such as cognate awareness, appeared to develop through mere exposure to two languages despite the absence of explicit instruction. Furthermore, morpho-syntactic awareness was mostly enhanced through greater emphasis on explicit instruction of morpho-syntactic knowledge; such effect was moderated by the syntactic complexity of teacher talk. These findings suggest that instead of typological distances of the languages, a constellation of factors uniquely characterises bilingual classroom experiences. The linguistic complexity of teacher talk and instructional emphasis may influence children's development of morphological and morpho-syntactic awareness.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, T. J., Kuo, L., Ramírez, G., Wu, S., Ku, Y., de Marin, S., Ball, A., & Eslami, Z.

citation count

  • 9

publication date

  • October 2015