File - Virginia C Mueller Gathercole

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BILINGUAL CONSTRUCTION OF TWO SYSTEMS – TO INTERACT OR NOT TO
INTERACT ? 1
Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole
Rocío Pérez Tattam
Hans Stadthagen-González
Address for Correspondence:
V. Mueller Gathercole
Linguistics Program
Florida International University
Miami, FL 33199
USA
[email protected]
305-348-6390
In E. M. Thomas & I. Mennen (Eds.) (in press). Unravelling bilingualism: A cross-disciplinary perspective. Bristol:
Multilingual Matters.
1 Acknowledgments: This work is supported in part by WAG grants on "Standardised
measures for the assessment of Welsh" and on "Continued development of standardised
measures for the assessment of Welsh" (Gathercole PI, Thomas co-investigator), ESRC grant
RES-062-23-0175 (Gathercole PI, Thomas co-investigator), and ESRC/WAG/HEFCW grant
RES-535-30-0061 (Deuchar, Gathercole, Baker, & Thierry). Many thanks to the schools,
teachers, parents, children, and adults who participated in these studies. Without their
generous cooperation, this work could not be accomplished. We are also grateful to Ruba
Moawad, Emily Roberts, Catrin Hughes, Emma Hughes, Nia Young, Leah Jones, Nestor Viñas
Guasch, Cynog Prys, Kelly Davis, Sinead Dolan, Katie Gibbins, Craig Harris, Cheryl King, Siwan
Long, Hannah Perryman, Mirain Rhys, and Kathryn Sharp, who collected a portion of the data
in conjunction with other projects, with their final year projects, or as paid hourly assistants.
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ABSTRACT
This chapter focuses on bilingual children’s construction of their linguistic system(s), with
attention to the question of where interaction between the two languages is or is not observed. We
examine data concerning the development and relationship of the morphosyntactic systems and the
organization of the semantic systems. With regard to the acquisition of the morphosyntactic system
in each language, the role of the input, influences on the timing of development, and the question of
possible acceleration when there are commonalities across the languages are discussed. In relation
to semantics, the influence of linguistic differences across the two languages and the fact that the
construction of the semantic system(s) is grounded in a common cognitive space will be proposed
as key. A model of development is presented according to which predictions regarding interaction
revolve around this construction of the two languages linked to a common cognitive base.
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One of the key questions concerning the acquisition of language in bilingual children is the
extent to which the two languages the child is learning interact and influence one another in
development. Are developments in the two languages different from corresponding developments
in the linguistic systems of their monolingual peers, and if so, where do the differences lie? A great
deal of research on these questions has focused on grammatical development. A number of
theoretical stances make predictions concerning the most likely components of the grammar to
undergo interaction and concerning the nature of the relationship between the grammars of the two
languages necessary for such interaction to occur. Recent research has also focused increasingly on
semantic knowledge in bilinguals, and has documented a wide variety of cases of interaction
(Ameel, Storms, Malt, & Sloman, 2005; Ameel, Malt, Storms, & Van Assche, 2009; Brown &
Gullberg, 2008a, 2008b; Jarvis & Pavlenko, 2008; Pavlenko, 2003, 2009; Wolff & Ventura, 2009)
between the two systems. This chapter will explore the question of interaction in these two
domains. First, we will examine whether predictions regarding morphosyntactic systems hold in
relation to Welsh-English-speaking children's acquisition of grammatical forms in their two
languages. The data will suggest that any relationship that is observed in acquisition is more likely
due to cognitive, metalinguistic, and metacognitive advances in the child than it is to specific
grammatical comparisons across the two languages. The chapter will then examine possible
interactions in the semantic systems of bilinguals. We will present some of the work we have been
doing to examine this question, and will argue for a model in which the semantic systems of the
bilingual's languages interact with that bilingual's cognitive understanding of the world. Finally, a
model of development that draws on constructivist-emergentist approaches to language learning in
children can help to explain the effects documented here—the low occurrence of interaction in
developing morphosyntactic systems, and the higher incidence of convergence in the bilingual's
semantic systems.
BACKGROUND
The question of the nature and location of influence between the two languages of a
bilingual has longstanding roots in even the earliest work on second language acquisition.
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Researchers in that tradition have long concerned themselves with the question of when "transfer"
occurs, in which direction (L1 to L2, but also L2 to L1?), and under what conditions (Gass, 1980;
Dulay & Burt, 1974a, 1974b; Dulay, Burt & Krashen, 1982; Krashen, 1982; Lado, 1957). Early
on, researchers recognized that there may need to be some similarity between the two languages for
transfer to occur (e.g., Andersen's (1983) "Transfer to Somewhere" principle and Wode's (1978)
"Crucial Similarity Measure"; but see Kellerman's (1995) "transfer to nowhere" principle) -- but it
was also recognized that transfer does not always occur in cases of structural similarity in the two
languages, because of speakers' expectations about what might possibly be transferable (Kellerman,
1978, 1983; Krashen, 1983).
In more recent years, such questions addressing L2 acquisition have re-emerged in relation
to simultaneous bilinguals. In examining the types of transfer that may or may not occur,
researchers working within a Chomskyan, modular tradition have proposed that language
interaction in bilinguals is not likely to occur within the "internal interfaces" of a grammar (i.e.,
within the morphological, syntactic, and semantic modules of the grammar), but are highly likely to
occur within the "external interfaces" of the grammar – at the points at which, e.g., syntax and
pragmatics come together (Sorace 2003, White 2009, Tsimpli & Sorace 2006; Hulk & Müller,
2000). Thus, one might predict that bilinguals carry over from one language to the other the
syntactic means through which pragmatic elements such as topic-comment relations are expressed,
but not, for example, the verbal endings from one language to the other. Some have proposed in
addition that there must be overlap, or similarity, across the surface structures of the two languages
in order for the child to carry over aspects from one language to the other (Hulk & Müller 2000,
Döpke 2000, Paradis & Genesee 1996). (See Gathercole, 2007, for discussion.)
Very recently, as there has been growing recognition that (a) the developmental progression
of bilinguals follows much the same route as it does in monolinguals (Gathercole & Hoff, 2007;
Gathercole, 2007; Rieckborn, 2005, 2006; Kupisch, 2004; Håkansson, Salameh & Nettelbladt,
2003; Li & Associates, Inc., 2005) and that (b) the progression of bilinguals may initially be timed
slightly behind that of monolinguals (Gathercole & Hoff, 2007; Gathercole & Thomas, 2005;
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Gathercole, Thomas, & Laporte, 2001; Pearson, 2002; Kupisch, 2004; Rieckborn, 2005, 2006;
Pearson, Fernandez, & Oller, 1993; Oller & Eilers, 2002), researchers have been taking a closer
look at potential interactions between the bilingual's two grammatical systems as they develop.
The clearest evidence for such interaction would be if the progression for some particular structures
in one of the bilingual's languages is out of line with the general progression one might expect
given the general level of exposure by the bilingual child to that language. It might be, for
example, that the acquisition of some aspect of one of the languages can "boost" the development
of a comparable form in the child's other language, resulting in acceleration in the acquisition of
that form; or, conversely, it might be that when there are differences between the structures in the
two languages, this might make their discovery in either language harder, leading to a greater delay
in acquisition than might be expected. Indeed, some research suggests that similarity of form
across languages might help boost the bilingual child's acquisition of forms in one of her languages.
This might be particularly true in cases in which the forms in one language are more complex than
they are in the other, so the ease of acquisition in the latter may help facilitate acquisition in the
former.
A nice example can be found in Fernández Fuertes & Liceras' (2010) study of the
acquisition of copulas in two Spanish-English bilingual children. These researchers asked whether
the more functionally prominent copulas, ser and estar, in Spanish might help these children to
discover and use the copula be in English earlier than their monolingual counterparts do. These
authors point out that (a) Spanish has two copulas, ser and estar – ser for individual-level
predicates (permanent) and estar for stage-level predication (temporary state), (b) ser and estar
help Spanish-speaking children to establish inflectional categories early, and (c) English-speaking
monolingual children show high omission of copula be (Becker, 2000, 2004) (e.g., "I in the
kitchen" (Nina, 2;01; Suppes, 1974, CHILDES). So, they reasoned, perhaps the early development of
inflectional categories in Spanish will help Spanish-English (S-E) bilinguals develop inflectional
categories in English, and thus promote the early correct use of overt be. Given that the common
progression in development in English is for early non-use of be followed by later insertion of be as
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the child matures (Brown, 1973; Becker 2000, 2004), would Spanish-English bilingual children
show earlier movement to the non-omission of be in English than their monolinguals peers? These
researchers found that the two S-E bilingual children they studied did indeed show earlier use of
explicit be than monolinguals do. The earlier use was documented to occur whether the use of be
was broken down by adjective type (into individual-level adjectives, which occur with ser in
Spanish, versus stage-level adjectives, which occur with estar) or into uses with two predicate
types (nominal predicates, which take ser, versus locative predicates, which take estar). See
Tables 1 and 2, adapted from Fernández Fuertes & Liceras (2010). They document the bilinguals'
earlier use of be for all types, but especially for uses corresponding to estar in Spanish.
Complementary data, also from Spanish-English simultaneous bilingual children, come
from Silva-Corvalán (2005, 2009). In her work, Silva-Corvalán examined two S-E bilingual
children's use of overt subjects in Spanish and English. Spanish is a null subject language, English
uses non-null subjects, and Spanish-speaking monolingual children show early and continued use
of null Subjects. Silva-Corvalán examined whether either language influenced the other in these
two children's use of subjects. One of the children, from early on, showed correct use of null
subjects in Spanish. The other, however, showed overuse (incorrect use) of overt subjects in
Spanish, presumably because of the influence of overt subjects in English.
Such findings suggest that there may indeed be cases in which the grammar of one language
affects the other in bilingual children. Two factors are of note, however. One is that language
dominance effects may play a role (e.g., in Silva-Corvalán's subjects, one was dominant in Spanish,
the other dominant in English). The other is that there may be additional factors in operation, such
as a possible preference for overt forms over covert forms, in such cases. In another study,
Serratrice and Sorace discovered that even Italian-Spanish bilinguals (speaking two languages both
of which have null subjects) over-used overt subjects (Serratrice et al., 2009; Sorace et al., 2009;
Sorace & Serratrice, 2009).
It is crucial in examining questions regarding interaction and regarding any potential
facilitation or acceleration in bilinguals that the issues be viewed within the broader perspective in
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which other factors, such as normal processes of acquisition, frequency of exposure, and languagespecific complexity, are taken into account. As noted above, all things being equal, bilingual
children's timing of development, but not sequence (Gathercole, 2007), is generally dependent on
relative amount of exposure to the language in question (Gathercole, 2007; Gathercole & Hoff,
2007). Thus, for example, in the Welsh-English context, the development of Welsh is in advance
in children who come from homes in which only Welsh is spoken relative to those from homes in
which both Welsh and English or only English are spoken, but the acquisition of English proceeds
in advance in children who come from homes in which only English is spoken relative to those
from homes in which both Welsh and English or only Welsh are spoken, and so forth (Gathercole,
in press; Gathercole & Thomas, 2009). At the same time, all children learn aspects of Welsh that
are less complex earlier, in sequence, than aspects that are more complex. For example,
grammatical gender, which is quite opaque in Welsh, is learned quite late (and may never be fully
mastered) by children from all home language backgrounds (Gathercole, Laporte & Thomas, 2005;
Gathercole & Thomas, 2005, 2009; Thomas & Gathercole, 2005, 2007). Keeping these factors in
mind, in the following sections, we examine, first, the grammatical development in Welsh-English
bilinguals more closely for potential interactions, and, second, potential interactions in another
realm, that of linguistic semantics.
GRAMMATICAL ABILITIES
In order to examine the children's knowledge of grammatical structures in each language,
we developed receptive grammatical tests in each language that covered roughly comparable
structures in the two languages and that could be expected to develop over a protracted period of
development (see Gathercole et al, in press, for further details). Thirteen sets of structures were
chosen for inclusion in the tests, namely the following:
Active Sentences
Negation
Passive (truncated)
Comparative
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Superlative
Present Perfect
Future
Time Conjunctions (before/after/until)
OS Relative Clauses
SS Relative Clauses
SO Relative Clauses
Quantification, Universal or Exhaustive (every, both)
Quantification, Existential or Non-exhaustive (some, not all)
An example of each type of structure for English and Welsh is shown in Table 3.
PLACE TABLE 3 ABOUT HERE.
These structures are listed in Table 3 in an order that we predicted might correspond to the
relative difficulty and timing of acquisition, as judged by work in the literature. Thus, for example,
we can expect simple active sentences and simple negatives to be learned fairly early in the two
languages (Bloom, 1973; Borsley & Jones, 2001; Brown, 1973; Crain & Lillo-Martin, 1999).
Passives, Comparatives, Superlatives, Present Perfects, and Futures are expected to be learned
between approximately 3 ½ and 5 years of age (Budwig, 2001; Gathercole, 2009; Weist, 2008).
Time conjunctions are expected to be understood perhaps somewhat later (age 5 or 6) (Clark, 2003;
Coker, 1978; Gathercole, 2009), and relative clauses perhaps somewhat later than that (Hamburger
& Crain, 1982; Kidd & Bavin, 2002). Quantifiers take even longer for children to gain a full
understanding (Gathercole, 2009; Hurewitz, Gelman, & Schnitzer, 2006; Papafragou, 2003, 2006;
Papafragou & Musolino, 2003; Papafragou & Schwarz, 2006).
The structures chosen were "roughly comparable" in the sense that they expressed
comparable functions, not necessarily in the sense that they involved any similar formation of the
structure itself. In fact, we can divide the structures into three types – those that share comparable
structural properties in the two languages; those that are mixed, sharing some features of their
formation, but differing in other aspects; and those that are clearly distinct in formation. Those that
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fall into the first type and the last type can be the most instructive in examining whether children
"bootstrap" from one language to the other. The prediction would be, if such bootstrapping occurs,
that in the case of comparable structures, bilingual children may have an advantage, and in the case
of distinct structures, they may have a disadvantage. The structures can be grouped as follows:
A. Similar structures:
Comparative
E: A-er than; W: A-ach na
Superlative
E: A-est; W: A-af
Future:
E: will+V; W: wneith+V
Universal or Exhaustive Quantification (every, both)
E: Q (the) N; W: (yr) Q N
Existential or Non-exhaustive Quantification (some, not all)
E: not all (of the) N; some (of the) N;
W: Neg Aux pob N ddim; rhai (o'r) N
The comparative in both languages involves the use of a suffix on the adjective (-er in
English, -ach in Welsh) followed by a standard marker (than in English, na in Welsh) introducing
the standard of comparison; the superlative is marked by the addition of a suffix on the adjective;
(one form of) the future is constructed using a future auxiliary plus the non-finite form of the main
verbi; and quantifiers in both languages are pre-nominal (every N, pob N; some of the N, rhai o'r N).
B. Those that are structurally dissimilar are the following:
Passive
E: BE/GET + PP; W: GET Poss V
Present Perfect:
E: have+PP; W: wedi+V(non-finite)
Time conjunctions
E: before SV(finite)(O), pro V(finite)(O)
W: cyn i SV(non-finite)(O), V(finite)
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OS Relative Clauses:
E: N[that/who V]; W: N[V]
SS Relative Clauses:
E: N[that/who V]; W: N[V]
SO Relative Clauses:
E: N[that NP V]; W: N[Art/Complementizer Aux NP O-poss V]
The passive in English is formed with an auxiliary be or get followed by the past participle
of the main verb, whereas the passive in Welsh is formed with the auxiliary cael 'get' followed by
the verb modified by a possessive adjective – the Welsh passive in Table 3 is literally 'got the clown
his push'. In the formation of the present perfect, English uses a form of the auxiliary have in
combination with the past participle of the verb (e.g., eaten), whereas Welsh uses the auxiliary bod
'be' in combination with the preposition wedi 'after' and the infinitival form of the verb. For
structures involving time conjunctions, English and Welsh both have introductory conjunctions
(before, cyn), but English before usually introduces a finite clause (before the teacher fell…), while
Welsh cyn introduces a non-finite structure (cyn i'r athrawes ddisgyn…. 'before to the teacher
falling….' [cf. the relatively formal (and hence unlikely to occur in input to children in English)
prior to the teacher falling….]).
Finally, relative clauses are also constructed differently. For SO relatives, in English the
subject is followed by the relative clause introduced by the (optional) complementizer that, and
there is no resumptive pronoun for the direct object in the embedded clause, as in (1):
(1)
a. The policeman [ that a lady called ___ ] was wearing red shoes.
b. The card [ that a painting showed ___ ] had a flower on it.
In the equivalent sentences in Welsh, as in (2), there may or may not be a complementizer (here yr)
and there may be a resumptive pronoun in the form of a possessive adjective (ei) modifying the
embedded verb, as in (2b):
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(2)
a. Roedd yr
was
plismon
[ wnaeth y ddynes ffonio] yn
the policeman [ did
the lady
b. Roedd y cerdyn [ yr oedd
was
the card
[ the was
y llun
gwisgo sgidiau coch.
call] PRT wear
yn
shoes
red
ei ddangos ] efo blodyn arno.
the picture PRT its show
] with flower on
Similarly, with OS and SS relatives, English uses a complementizer, as in (3), whereas Welsh may
not, as in (4):
(3)
A pig smelled the elephant [that ___ was eating an orange ].
(4)
Naeth y
did
mochyn ogleuo'r
the pig
llyffant
[ ___ oedd yn
bwyta oren
smell-the elephant [ ___ was PRT eat
].
orange ]
C. Finally, those constructions that have some structural similarities and some differences are the
following:
Active
E: SVO, W: VSO, AuxSVO
Negation:
E: S Aux Neg V…; W: Neg-Aux S Neg V
English uses SVO as the dominant word order; Welsh uses two word orders, VSO and
(more frequently in colloquial speech) AuxSVO. In negation, English uses single negation, with
the negative not occurring between the auxiliary and the verb, while Welsh allows double negation,
often with a negative particle sentence-initially and the negative form dim internally, although this
is oversimplifying a lot (see, e.g., Borsley, 2005).
As noted, for the purposes of examining crosslinguistic interaction in development, the
most relevant examinations will entail the structures shown in (A), where acceleration might be
predicted to occur, and those in (B), where deceleration might be predicted to occur. It should be
added as well that, if interaction is more likely to occur in cases involving the interface between
syntax and pragmatics, then we could predict interaction especially in the case of those structures
that involve pragmatics for their proper use and interpretation. Here, the relevant structures would
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be the comparative, the superlative, and the quantifier constructions, as these all involve the use of
conversational implicature for their proper interpretation (see Gathercole, 2009).
Method
Stimuli:
Three sentences were drawn up for each of the thirteen sets of structures for each of two
versions of the test in each language. Two versions of the tests, A and B, were prepared for both
languages, so that a given child would not receive the same pictures or translation-equivalent
sentences across the two languages. The pictures and items for version A in the two languages
were the same, and the pictures and items for version B in the two languages were the same.
In each version, each type of grammatical structure was tested with the three trials in a
forced-choice picture task, with four picture choices for each trial. The lexical items appearing in
versions A and B were the same, but their occurrence was balanced so that they would be heard on
distinct trials and in distinct structures across the versions. Approximately half the children
received version A in English and B in Welsh, and half version B in English and A in Welsh.
Procedure:
For each trial, a set of four computerised pictures was presented, and the child was asked to
pick the picture that went best with the sentence s/he heard. All verbal stimuli were presented
aurally. Five practice trials unrelated to the structures of interest were administered initially, in the
relevant language, to familiarize the child with the procedure.
Participants:
For the English receptive grammar task, 376 children were tested, including monolinguals
and bilinguals, and for the Welsh receptive grammar task, all 278 of the bilinguals were tested. The
children came from four distinct home language groups, according to the language(s) reported by
parents to be the language(s) spoken by them to children in the home: monolingual English,
bilinguals with only English at home ("OEH"), bilinguals with both Welsh and English at home
("WEH"), and bilinguals with only Welsh at home ("OWH").
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Children came from four distinct age groups, 2-3 (mean age 3;3, range 2;1-4;0), 4-5 (mean
age 5;0, range 4;1-6;8), 7-8 (mean age 8;1, range 7;0-8;11), and 13-15 (mean age 14;8, range 13;015;8). The number of children tested at each age is shown in Table 4 by home language. The
breakdown of ages, with means and median ages for each home language group at each age, is
shown in Table 5.
PLACE TABLES 4 & 5 ABOUT HERE.
Results
General Findings:
The full report of the overall results from the study can be found in Gathercole et al. (in
press). To summarize the general results: Children from all home language groups
progressed in the same sequence across structures, but at the earliest ages, for both
languages, those children who had the greatest amount of input in the given language
performed in advance of those from homes in which less input in that language was available.
The general progression by home language group and age is shown in Figures 1 and 2 (from
Gathercole et al., in press).
PLACE FIGURES 1 AND 2 ABOUT HERE.
Comparisons across the ages showed the greatest differences across home language groups
at the youngest ages, and subsequent convergence in performance with age. Thus, at the youngest
ages, home language groups tended to perform differently, according to the level of exposure to the
language in question. In English, at ages 2-3 and 4-5, Mon E children generally performed
significantly differently from OEH, WEH, and OWH children; and at age 7-8, while OEH children
no longer performed differently from Mon E children, WEH and OWH children still performed less
well than the Mon E children. In Welsh, at ages 4-5 and 7-8 the differences across home language
groups was most apparent, with OEH children most clearly distinct from OWH children, with the
WEH children performing between these two.
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As children got older, the home language groups gradually became less distinguishable.
By ages 13-15, all children in both languages performed in an equivalent fashion. Thus, early
differences across groups became neutralized with age.
Within that general progression, however, it is possible that bilinguals experienced
acceleration in the case of some structures. In order to explore this possibility, two further
sets of analyses were conducted – first, correlations between the English and Welsh
performance were examined; second, the relative performance of the home language groups
at each age on the individual structures was investigated.
Again, the reasoning with regard to correlations was that if some type of
bootstrapping was occurring, we might expect correlations on the performance in English
and Welsh in cases in which English and Welsh were comparable in structure, but not where
English and Welsh differ in structure. If, on the other hand, correlations occurred in cases in which
the structures were dissimilar, this would suggest that some other factor – e.g., requisite cognitive
preparation for use of the structures in question or a more general linguistic advancement, such as
expanded MLU length – might account for correlations in performance.
Correlational analyses of scores on the two tests, reported in Gathercole et al. (in press),
showed that, indeed, there were significant correlations between the total scores on the English and
Welsh tests at ages 2-3, r = .552, p = .000, at ages 7-8, r = .353, p = .001, and at ages 13-15, r =
.384, p = .001, but not at age 4-5, r = .144, n.s. There were significant correlations on the
following sub-scores:
At age 2-3: Similar structures: comparatives r = .405, p=.012; future r = .395, p= .014;
Dissimilar structures: time conjunctions r = .481, p = .002; SO relatives: r = .480, p = .002.
At age 4-5: Similar structures: comparatives r = .279 p = .022; existential/non-exhaustive
quantification r = .319, p = .010;
Dissimilar structures: passive r = .241, p=.050; OS relatives r = .276, p = .024.
At age 7-8: Similar structures: existential/non-exhaustive quantification r = .441, p = .000;
Dissimilar structures: SO relatives r = .241, p = .029;
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Other: actives: r = .296, p = .006.
At age 13-15: Similar structures: universal/exhaustive quantification r = .410, p = .000;
Dissimilar structures: passive r = .297, p = .010; present perfect r = .299, p = .010.
Note that the correlations that hold at the different ages on substructures of the two
languages do so for both comparable structures (e.g., the comparative) and dissimilar structures
(e.g., relative clauses, passives). This suggests that, rather than children bootstrapping from the
syntactic structures of one language to the other, there may be a certain cognitive preparedness or a
general linguistic preparedness that allows children to map some cognitive understanding or
linguistic advance they have gained with the linguistic means for expressing that in each language.
For example, for proper use of the comparative (in any language), one must come to a certain level
of appreciation of comparison between entities, and of the relative position of two values on a
given scale (see Gathercole, 2009). For the proper use of relative clauses, there must be, among
other things, an ability to hold multiple components of a sentence in memory and an ability to
coordinate multiple grammatical/theta roles for nominal elements expressed in the sentence, or a
meta-linguistic appreciation that such multiple relations can hold within a single sentence. Such
advances could easily affect advances in both languages at the same time.
Acceleration by Group?
To examine the question of possible acceleration more closely, one further set of analyses
would be relevant. We can examine the relative performance across the home language groups at
each age on the relevant structures – those for which similarity might encourage transfer and those
for which dissimilarity might lead to depressed performance. But which bilinguals are most likely
to show a boost? There are several possible predictions regarding performance across home
language groups, if interaction does indeed lead to acceleration.
First, it is possible that all bilinguals gain a boost, relative to monolinguals, from a structure
in language B in learning language A. If so, their performance relative to monolinguals on that
structure should exceed expectations, in relation to the general level of their performance, and
might even exceed that of the monolinguals (as in, e.g., the data reported by Fernández-Fuertes &
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Liceras, 2010). So, for example, let's say that the OEH children generally perform across structures
with mean scores approximately 20% lower than the scores obtained by the English monolinguals.
With a boost on a particular structure, the OEH children might perform at only 10% below the
monolinguals, at the same rate, or even higher than the monolinguals. Similar expectations would
hold for the WEH and the OWH children on the same structures, relative to their overall
performance.
A second possible prediction regarding which bilinguals might show a boost in language A
might concern only those bilingual children who are most advanced in language B. These more
advanced bilinguals might be the ones who are best placed for transferring from language B to
language A, given their greater grounding/knowledge of language B. This would mean, for
example, that the greatest boost in English would occur in the OWH children because of transfer
from their dominant language, Welsh, and the greatest boost in Welsh would occur in the OEH
children because of transfer from their dominant language, English. (These same bilinguals would
be predicted to show some delay as well in the cases of those structures that differed in the two
languages.)
A final possible prediction of which bilinguals might show a boost concerns those
bilinguals who are most balanced in their knowledge of the two languages. These bilinguals may
be better able to draw connections between language A and language B than those who are
dominant in one of the languages, and therefore may be more likely to transfer back and forth
between the two languages than either of the other two groups. In this case, the prediction would
be that boosts would occur in our data in the WEH group for both languages, insofar as these
children are the most likely to receive input in both languages on a consistent basis. (Again, the
prediction would also be that these bilinguals would show the greatest delay in those structures that
differed in the two languages.)
These three possibilities are shown in columns 3 and 4 of Table 6.
PLACE TABLE 6 ABOUT HERE.
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In order to examine performance, to determine whether any of the three types of predictions
are substantiated by the data, mean scores [out of 3] for each structure at each age by each home
language group were examined. The mean scores are shown in Table 7 for English and Table 8 for
Welsh. Scores for structures that are similar in Welsh and English are shown in the top half of the
Tables, those that are dissimilar in the bottom half. The average mean scores for all 13 structures
for each home language group are also shown for each age at the bottom of each Table.
To assess whether acceleration or deceleration occurred in any given instance, the following
calculations were performed. First, at each age, the relation between the mean score of each home
language group to that of those who were most proficient in the language – the monolinguals for
English and the OWH group for Welsh—was determined. This relation is expressed as a
percentage at the bottom of Tables 7 and 8. (E.g., for English, at age 2-3, the OEH children's scores
were generally 24.5% lower than those of the monolinguals; the WEH children's were 47.2%
lower; and the OWH children's were 50.0% lower.; for Welsh, at age 2-3, the WEH children's
scores were 25.3% lower than the OWH children's, and the OEH children's scores were 45.6%
lower; and so forth.)
Given this overall relative performance at each age for each home language group, each
sub-score was then examined to see if it fell within the normal performance for that home language
group. An arbitrary leeway margin was set at 10% of the monolingual score around the mean range
for the given group. Any scores that did not fall within the given mean range plus or minus that
10% are shown boxed in bold in the Tables. Those above the expected range are shown boxed with
solid bold lines; those below that range are shown boxed with broken bold lines.
PLACE TABLES 7 AND 8 ABOUT HERE.
On examination of these data, we can see the following. First, there are relatively few cases
of acceleration, at least as defined here. There are only two cases for English, five for Welsh -- in
contrast to 20 cases of depressed scores for English and 25 for Welsh. Secondly, the cases in which
acceleration is observed fall into both the upper and lower structures in the charts – i.e., in both
cases where acceleration could be predicted to occur and cases for which deceleration might be
18
predicted. The specific cases here where possible acceleration is shown are, in English, in the 2- to
3-year-old OWH children's performance on the comparative, and the 4- to 5-year-old OEH
children's performance on the SO relatives; and in Welsh, in the WEH children's performance on
the future at age 2 to 3 and on partial quantification, the present perfect, SS relatives, and SO
relatives at ages 4 to 5. Note that the cases in which possible deceleration is observed also fall into
both the upper and lower structures. About half fell into the upper structures (9 of 20 in English
and 13 of 25 in Welsh) and half into the lower.
Such data provide little support for any of the predicted cases under an acceleration
hypothesis. That is, there does not appear to be any strong evidence in favor of children's learning
how to say X in language A by transferring what they've learned about how to say X in language B.
Any cases of relatively advanced performance are few and dispersed, and they do not show a strong
advantage for any one sub-group of bilinguals.
If that is the case, how, then can we best account for those cases in which acceleration does
appear to have occurred? As conjectured above in relation to correlations occurring across the two
languages, one plausible explanation is that, rather than reflecting children's bootstrapping from
one structure to the other, the effects observed reflect a cognitive, metalinguistic, or metacognitive
advance that affects performance in both languages. This would mean, not the transfer of one
grammar to the other, but, for example, gaining the cognitive underpinnings necessary for the
processing of the structures in question and applying that cognitive knowledge or facility to the
acquisition of both languages. Or, alternatively, it could mean gaining a metalinguistic or
metacognitive awareness of a message or meaning that can be encoded by language and applying
that awareness to the acquisition of both languages. For example, a child may discover
(metalinguistically) in one language that future time or recent past time can be a linguistically
relevant notion to be encoded, and this may make the discovery of the means to express that in the
other language more viable.
In summary, careful analysis of bilingual children's abilities in English and Welsh at four
ages failed to provide support for an approach positing direct interaction between the
19
morphosyntactic systems of these children's two languages. Any evidence we have seen suggesting
that acquisition in the two languages might be "informed" by a common source appear to be better
explained as deriving from the child's knowledge at some other level – most likely metalinguistic,
cognitive, or metacognitive.
SEMANTIC KNOWLEDGE
Let us turn to possible interaction in another realm, linguistic semantics. Our particular
focus is on lexical semantics encoded differently in bilinguals' two languages. Specifically, in
order to examine bilinguals' knowledge of the semantics of their two languages, we have been
carrying out a series of studies to examine bilinguals' linguistically related categorization, in
particular in cases in which the two languages differ. No two languages cut up the semantic space
in exactly the same ways. Thus, for example, English has one word for many types of brush,
whereas Spanish distinguishes brushes for hair (cepillo) from brushes for painting (brocha);
Spanish categorizes stairs and ladders as one sort of thing (escalera), whereas English mandatorily
differentiates stairs from ladders. English has one word, key, for keys to open doors and keys on a
computer keyboard, whereas some dialects of Welsh have two totally separate categories for these,
goriad vs. allwedd; but Welsh has one word that can be used for both thumbs and big toes, bawd,
while English necessarily keeps these separate. English has one word, tree, for all kinds of trees,
while Arabic distinguishes deciduous trees, shajarah, from date trees, nakhla; in contrast, Arabic
has one category for clocks and watches, saeah, while English keeps these separated into two
categories.
The question is how bilingual speakers handle such differences internal to the semantics of
words in their two languages. We know that one of the tasks of a word-learning child is to learn
what the boundaries of application are for words. They make frequent errors of underextension and
overextension, indicating that this process is far from simple (Anglin, 1977; Bowerman, 1978;
Clark, 1973; Dromi, 1987, 2009; Kay & Anglin, 1979). It is also clear that children are guided by
the structure of their specific language in establishing semantic categories; this is widely attested
for a wide range of semantic fields (Berman & Slobin, 1994; Bowerman, 1996a, b; Bowerman &
20
Choi, 2001; Choi, 2006; de León, 2009; Gathercole & Min, 1997; Gathercole, Thomas, & Evans,
2000; Imai & Gentner, 1997; Li, 2009; Narasimhan & Brown, 2009; Weist, 2008). Yet, at the
same time, the possible semantic organization children entertain is far from random – it is to some
extent informed by the (nonlinguistic) cognitive knowledge of the child. Thus, for example,
children's overextensions are often based on similarity of shape and function, seldom by similarity
of color or size (Clark, 1973). That is, children's semantic hypotheses are affected by their
cognitive knowledge of what is likely to be judged as "similar" on some level.
We hypothesized that bilinguals' establishment of semantic categories in their two
languages would be influenced by the two languages in question, in interaction with their growing
cognitive understanding of the world. This would be especially true of early bilinguals, such as
simultaneous bilinguals and early L2 bilinguals, less likely with late L2 bilinguals. In the latter
case, categorization in the L1 has been established by the time the acquisition of the L2 begins, so
the hypothesis was that such bilinguals are more likely to exemplify L1-to-L2 transfer of semantic
categories than L2-to-L1.
We also hypothesized that the level of interaction would depend on the type of category. In
our research, we have grouped semantic, language-specific categories into three major types, based
on the semantics of the wider words (e.g., brush, escalera, key, bawd, tree, and saeah in the
examples above). First, a "classical category" is one that contains items whose membership,
despite the fact that they are objectively, "-etically"ii, distinguishable, is specifiable in terms of
necessary and sufficient conditions. Thus, for example, among the categories mentioned above,
bawd in Welsh (containing both thumbs and big toes) can be defined as 'the largest of 5 digits
extending from any of the 4 limbs of a human', escalera in Spanish (containing both stairs and
ladders) as 'a multi-runged vertical construction used to ascend by foot to a higher height', and
saeah in Arabic (clocks and watches) as 'a timepiece'. A second major type or category is a "radial
category" (Lakoff, 1987), in which a central application of a word has been conventionally
extended in a motivated fashion beyond the central use, but for which membership cannot be
specified with necessary and sufficient conditions. Thus, for example, aien in Arabic has as its
21
central application eyes, but it is also used, by metaphorical, but conventionalized, extension to
stove burners; pintura in Spanish refers centrally to paint, but it also is used for the product of
paint, a painting; pen in Welsh refers to a head, but also to the end or top of something, such as the
top of a list; and glass in English refers centrally to the material, but has been conventionally
extended to drinking receptacles made from this material, and then also any similar drinking
receptacle, even if it is made of plastic.
We might represent such classical and radial types as F1 and F2 in the hypothetical language
A at the top in Figure 3 (from Gathercole & Moawad, 2010: 7). F1 represents a lexical form that
refers in the cognitive space to –etically distinguishable referents, x and y, but the language pulls
these together by F1 under a common meaning, m1, with m1 specifiable via necessary and sufficient
conditions. F1 is an example of a classical category in language A.iii F2 is an example of a radial
category. It represents a lexical form that refers in the cognitive space to distinguishable referents,
a and b, that are linked in some way, by similarity of shape, function, association, or the like, but,
crucially, a and b do not share a set of criterially defining features. The language pulls a and b
together by F2 under a (complex) meaning structure m2.
PLACE FIGURE 3 ABOUT HERE.
These can be compared with a third type, homophones, represented by F3 in Figure 3.
Homophones are words that share the same form (phonological shape), but they refer to items so
distant in the cognitive space, p and q, that no speaker of language A would consider the referents
to belong to the same category, even though the language could be considered to be "inviting" them
to do so.
These contrast with the categories in the hypothetical language B, in Figure 3, in which
each of the referents shown in the conceptual space—x, y, a, b, p, and q—all have distinct labels or
forms in language B, and, hence, belong to distinct categories, each of which corresponds to a
different semantic meaning.
Our primary question has been how bilinguals process categories such as those shown in
Figure 3, when their two languages categorize referents in distinct fashion. We have focused on
22
cases in which one language has a wider category than the other and subsumes two distinct
categories from that other language, as in F1 versus f1 and f2 in Figure 3. We have been examining
this question with various types of bilinguals from a variety of language pairs, including ArabicEnglish (Gathercole & Moawad, 2010; Gathercole, Moawad, et al., 2009), Welsh-English (Tomos,
2011), and Spanish-English (Gathercole, Stadthagen-González, et al., 2009, 2010, 2011;
Gathercole, Thomas, et al., 2008; Stadthagen-González, Pérez-Tattam, et al., 2009).
Typical data are those reported for Arabic-English bilinguals (Gathercole & Moawad, 2010;
Gathercole, Moawad, et al., 2009). In that case, two sets of bilinguals were studied, early L2
learners of English (beginning E before age 6) and late L2 learners (beginning English after age
12), as well as monolingual speakers of Arabic and English. Speakers were asked to judge which
pictures, out of 6, could be labelled by a given word, either in Arabic or English. Words included
half in which English had the wider category (like tree), and half in which Arabic had the wider
category (like saeah). When the word was from the wider language, two pictures were appropriate;
when it was from the narrower language, one picture was appropriate. Words came from classical,
radial, and homophonic category types.
The results from that study are shown in Figure 4 (from Figure 2, Gathercole & Moawad,
2010: 7) . Those bilinguals tested in English performed much lower than monolingual English
speakers when English had a wider category than Arabic. When English was narrower, the
bilinguals performed well on the radial and homophonic categories, but on the classical categories,
they performed below the monolinguals, especially the early L2 bilinguals. That is, the early
bilinguals carried over the wider classical category from Arabic to their L2, English.
Those bilinguals tested in Arabic, on the whole, performed similarly to their monolingual
Arabic-speaking counterparts. The main exception to this was in performance on classical
categories for which English had the wider scope. Here, the early L2 bilinguals applied the wider
categorization from English to their L1, Arabic. We have been obtaining similar results in cases of
simultaneous bilinguals (Tomos, 2011; Gathercole & Moawad, 2010; Gathercole, StadthagenGonzález, et al., 2009, 2010, 2011; Gathercole, Thomas, et al., 2008; Stadthagen-González, Pérez-
23
Tattam, et al., 2009), and have found as well that language dominance in the community also plays
an important role in how all bilingual groups perform.
Our interpretation of such data are that semantic interaction phenomena in bilinguals are,
first, widespread, and, secondly, most apparent in the case of categories that bring together items in
the conceptual space that are close together—namely, classical categories. Semantic interaction
between the two languages is least likely to occur in cases in which the referents are distant
conceptually, that is, in the case of homophones.
MODEL OF CONSTRUCTING A LANGUAGE
How can we account for results such as those above? What model can collectively provide
for (1) minimal interaction at the local level (within morphosyntactic constructs); (2) the influence
of cognitive, metalinguistic, and metacognitive abilities; and (3) a higher level of interaction within
the semantic realm than elsewhere? These phenomena seem to fall out naturally when seen within
an emergentist perspective on language development and given the fact that the two languages are
being constructed in a single individual with a single brain and cognition. That is these effects are
natural consequences of the emergent nature of two languages developing in a single individual.
First, certain principles have been documented over the last half century regarding the
processes of learning a first language (see Gathercole, 2007). These include the following:
1. Piecemeal acquisition. Children initially accumulate bits and pieces of knowledge in a
haphazard fashion. Initially, these pieces may not be linked, and they become linked later only as
more and more connections between them are accumulated.
2. Acquisition in context. Children's initial knowledge is embedded within context—including
both the situational and real-life context and the linguistic context in which linguistic items are
experienced. The latter includes statistical learning, for which there is wide-ranging evidence in
acquisition at all levels of the language (e.g., Croker, Pine & Gobet, 2000; Freudenthal, Pine, &
Gobet, 2002; Jusczyk, 1999; Li, 2003, 2009; Li, Farkas, & MacWhinney, 2004; Pelucchi, Hay, &
Saffran, 2009; Saffran, 2003).
3. Emergence of structure from accumulated knowledge. As the initially piecemeal knowledge
24
grows and begins to form interconnecting links, structural properties emerge, leading often to
reorganization and higher-level abstractions of such knowledge (Bowerman, 1982; Elman, et al.,
1997; Karmiloff-Smith, 1978. 1979; ).
4. Influence of language on timing and sequence of acquisition. Language is learned in languagespecific fashion. Complexity has to do to a large extent with language-specific properties,
including the relative opacity of structures (Gathercole, 2002c; Gathercole, 2007; Gathercole &
Hoff, 2007; Gathercole & Montes, 1997; Gathercole, Thomas, & Laporte, 2001; Lieven, 1994;
Thomas, 2001; Moawad, 2006), cue reliability, and form-function pairings (MacWhinney, Bates, &
Kliegl, 1984; McDonald, 1987).
5. Role of exposure for timing/speed of acquisition. Finally, the speed of acquisition of a language
has partly to do with the level of exposure to a language (Li & Associates, Inc., 2005).
If we take the first two and the fourth of these and examine their import for bilingual
acquisition, the implication is that initial acquisition will respect the contexts in which forms are
heard. On the nonlinguistic level, this means we can expect distributed learning – e.g., knowing
how to say things in one context in one language, but in another context in the other language. On
the linguistic level, this means associating linguistic forms – morphemes, affixes, etc.—with the
linguistic contexts in which they have been heard. Children are excellent at picking up the
constellations of constructs that they hear together in the input (e.g., Jusczyk, 1999; Saffran, 2003),
even in cases of homonymic forms (Clark & de Marneffe, in press; Veneziano & Parisse, 2010).
Bilingual children are good at keeping given morphemes, especially bound morphemes, associated
with forms with which they have occurred (Gathercole, 2007; Gathercole, 2002a, 2002b; see
Deuchar & Vihman, 2005, for early mixing involving predicates). It is not surprising, then, that at
a local level, within the morphosyntactic systems of their two languages, bilingual children keep
the two languages fairly separate, since they have occurred in separate linguistic constellations in
the input.
If we take the third principle, whereby some level of abstraction is occurring through
multiple linkages, we can expect some interaction between the child's two languages to begin
25
occurring in the places where the two languages might "meet" in such multiple linkages. Where is
that likely to occur? Precisely in the place where the two languages must of necessity meet – one
of these is at the common cognition through which the languages are being learned and processed.
What is included in that common cognition? We can expect it to include at least the following: (1)
the child's emerging understanding of the world – including judgments of similarity and differences
(of shape, of function, of properties, etc.), of social interaction, and the like; (2) the child's
processing abilities – including short term memory span, long term memory, speed of processing
phonological input, and the like; (3) the child's growing understanding of the linguistic purposes of
language – including what constitutes a proposition, abstraction of what types of meaning can
commonly get encoded (e.g., specification of time in the past; spatial relations; quantities; relative
quantities), and the like; (4) the child's growing understanding of the pragmatic purposes of
language – including the pragmatic structure of discourse into topics and comments, even perhaps
the combinatorial potential of oral and gestural communication.
We have seen evidence of the first of these, a common understanding of similarity, linked
with semantic organization in the bilingual's two languages in our work and others' work on
semantic interaction in bilinguals in relation to categorization: The closer in the conceptual space
the members of categories are, the more susceptible crosslinguistically non-isomorphic categories
are to convergence. The second, the child's processing abilities, we have suggested may be key in
relation to the potential acceleration observed above in the area of some types of relative clauses:
potential growth in processing capacity may underlie advances in both languages in such areas.
Effects related to the third, a meta-cognitive understanding of the uses of language, would include
evidence indicating, for example, shared word order across a bilingual's two languages for
expressing arguments of propositions; shared use of overt markers for essential elements of
propositions, such as subjects; potential acceleration in the expression of general linguistic
encoding such as past or future tense marking; and the like. And the fourth, the growing
understanding of the pragmatic uses of language, would be operative in cases in which the child
discovered, e.g., a particular word order for expressing topics. The full range of expectations still
26
needs to be worked out, but the overriding principle is that it is the unified cognitive and meaning
base with which the two languages connect that leads to shared associations between the two
languages.
This perspective on interactive influences in the languages of bilinguals is radically
different from one in which the modules of language are seen as distinct and in which interaction
occurs at the interface between those modules. That type of model cannot account for the
morphosyntactic facts laid out here, and it lacks power for predicting and explaining interactions of
the semantic type explored here,
CONCLUSION
We have attempted to examine in detail potential evidence for interaction between a
bilingual speaker's two systems at two levels, that of morphosyntax and of semantics. Careful
analysis of bilingual children's abilities in English and Welsh at four ages failed to provide support
for an approach positing direct interaction between the morphosyntactic systems of these children's
two languages. Any evidence we have seen suggesting that acquisition in the two languages might
be "informed" by a common source appear to be better explained as deriving from the child's
knowledge at some other level – most likely metalinguistic, cognitive, or metacognitive.
At the same time, evidence on speakers' processing of linguistically encoded categories that
differ in their two languages suggest very prolific interactions between the bilingual's two semantic
systems. This appears especially true in cases where the semantics encoded have to do with closely
related cognitive spaces, and especially in those bilinguals whose linguistic and cognitive
development take place contemporaneously, as in simultaneous bilinguals or early L2 learners.
Such phenomena can be explained through an emergentist perspective on language
development. Principles that appear operative in language acquisition in both monolinguals and
bilinguals can help provide insight into the reasons why interaction is observed in some areas and
not in others. Such a view leads to further predictions for linguistic phenomena in bilinguals
beyond those explored here; future research can help to test the extent to which such predictions are
borne out.
27
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TABLE 2. Data reported in Fernández Fuertes & Liceras (2010) by predicate type.
41
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Table 3. Types of Structures Tested in Receptive Grammar Tasks.
STRUCTURE TYPE
ENGLISH Examples
WELSH Examples
Active
The elephant smelled the horse.
Gwnaeth yr eliffant ogleuo’r ceffyl.
Negation
The goats aren’t eating.
Tydi'r geifr ddim yn bwyta.
Passive (Truncated)
The clown was pushed.
Cafodd y clown ei wthio.
Comparative
The tree is taller than the house.
Mae'r goeden yn dalach na'r tŷ.
Superlative
The apple is lowest.
Yr afal sydd isaf.
Present Perfect
He has jumped.
Mae o wedi neidio.
Future
The ducks will jump over the rock.
Mi (w)neith y hwyaid neidio dros y garreg.
Time Conjunction
(before/after/until)
Before the teacher fell, she took her hat off.
Cyn i'r athrawes ddisgyn, mi dynnodd hi ei het.
Relative Clause, OS
A circle covers the box that has a ring in it.
Mae're cylch yn gorchuddio'r bocs sydd efo
modrwy ynddo.
Relative Clause, SS
The donkey that kicked a cow was wearing socks.
Roedd yr asyn (w)na'th gicio'r fuwch yn gwisgo
sanau.
Relative Clause, SO
A dancer that the girl called had a ring.
Roedd y dawnsiwr (w)na'th y ferch ffonio efo
modrwy.
Quantifier, Universal /
Exhaustive (every, both)
Every princess is on a tractor.
Mae pob tywysoges ar dractor.
Quantifier, Existential / Not
Exhaustive (not all, some)
Some of the dancers are wearing dresses.
Mae rhai o'r dawnswyr yn gwisgo ffrogiau.
42
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Age
MON E
OEH
WEH
OWH
TOT
2-3
23
11
18
22
74
4-5
38
25
20
23
106
7-8
17
30
22
33
102
13-15
20
18
25
31
94
98
84
85
109
376
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MON E = monolingual English (only tested in English); OEH = bilingual with only English at home; WEH = bilingual with Welsh and English at
home; OWH = bilingual with only Welsh at home
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43
6
Table 5. Mean (and Median) Ages for Participants, English and Welsh Receptive Grammar Measures, by age group and home language2
Age
MON E
2-3
3;6
3;2
3;1
3;1
3;3
(3;7)
(3;2)
(3;0)
(3;1)
(3;3)
5;0
5;0
5;1
4;10
5;0
(4;10) (5;0)
(5;3)
(4;9) (4;11)
7;9
8;1
8;1
8;2
8;1
(7;7)
(8;2)
(8;1)
(8;2)
(8;1)
14;7
14;7
14;8
14;9
14;8
(14;10) (15;1) (14;11) (14;9) (14;10)
4-5
7-8
13-15
2
OEH
WEH
OWH
TOT
MON E = monolingual English; OEH = bilingual with only English at home; WEH = bilingual with Welsh and English at home; OWH = bilingual with
only Welsh at home
44
4
TABLE 6. Predictions regarding acceleration or delay by home language group
Prediction
A. Similar structures:
Comparative
Superlative
Future
Universal / Exhaustive Quantification
Existential / Non-Universal Quantification
B. Dissimilar structures:
Passive
Present Perfect
Time conjunctions
OS Relative Clauses
SS Relative Clauses
SO Relative Clauses
In whom?
1. ALL BILINGUALS: Bilinguals
will exceed monolinguals
2. DOMINANT IN OTHER
LANGUAGE: Those dominant
Acceleration
in other language will carry
over to this language
3. BALANCED BILINGUALS:
Balanced bilinguals will
transfer between languages
Deceleration
ENGLISH
WELSH
BILS > MONS
n.a.
OWH > OEH, WEH
OEH > OWH, WEH
WEH > OEH, WEH
WEH > OEH, WEH
1. ALL BILINGUALS
BILS < MONS
n.a.
2. DOMINANT IN OTHER
LANGUAGE
OWH < OEH, WEH
OEH < OWH, WEH
3. BALANCED BILINGUALS
WEH < OEH, WEH
WEH < OEH, WEH
45
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Structures
2-3
4-5
M
OEH WEH OWH M
OEH WEH OWH M
A. Similar:
Comparative
Superlative
Future
Universal / Exhaustive
Quantification
Existential / Non-exhaustive
Quantification
B. Dissimilar:
Passive
Present Perfect
Time conjunctions
OS Relative Clauses
SS Relative Clauses
SO Relative Clauses
AVERAGE, all structures
MON - %
!
!
!
7-8
OEH WEH OWH M
13-15
OEH WEH OWH
.78
.90
.69
1.13
1.79
1.58
1.32
1.59
3.00 2.79
2.64
2.66
2.95 2.89
2.92
2.94
.83
.91
.91
.60
.80
.60
.54
.39
.54
.56
.50
.44
1.50
1.08
1.68
1.04
1.04
1.08
1.32
1.26
1.26
.82
.91
.91
2.41 2.07
2.12 1.66
2.41 2.52
1.86
2.00
2.32
2.09
1.72
2.28
2.80 2.72
2.80 2.50
2.85 2.78
2.88
2.40
2.80
2.94
2.65
2.71
1.00
.80
.31
.50
1.47
1.42
1.37
1.18
2.71 2.55
2.36
2.41
3.00 2.89
2.84
2.94
1.13
1.00
1.30
.87
.78
1.00
.70
.60
.70
.80
.62
.54
.62
.69
.46
.81
.69
.44
.44
.25
2.26
2.40
1.71
1.40
.95
1.96
2.13
1.04
1.58
1.08
1.84
1.63
1.37
1.32
1.11
1.86
.91
1.27
1.18
.77
2.82
2.71
2.47
2.53
2.24
2.79
2.66
2.03
2.59
2.07
2.55
2.55
1.73
2.41
2.18
2.69
2.31
2.13
2.28
1.91
2.95
2.85
2.70
2.75
2.85
2.94
2.89
2.89
2.56
2.67
2.96
2.84
2.72
2.72
2.60
2.77
2.71
2.81
2.71
2.65
.87
.50
.69
.44
1.08
1.58
1.26
1.09
2.53 2.38
2.09
1.94
2.75 2.56
2.72
2.71
1.06
.83
24.5
.66
47.2
.63
50.0
1.71
1.53
10.5
1.50
12.3
1.25
26.9
2.58 2.43
5.8
2.32
10.0
2.30
10.9
2.86 2.79
2.4
2.79
2.4
2.79
2.4
46
10
TABLE 8. WELSH Performance by structure, age, and home language
Structures
2-3
OEH WEH OWH --
4-5
OEH WEH OWH --
7-8
OEH WEH OWH --
13-15
OEH WEH OWH
A. Similar:
Comparative
Superlative
.60
.60
.46
.77
.94
.69
.78
.87
1.26
1.05
1.55
1.55
2.35
1.76
2.50
2.05
2.63
2.23
2.89
2.61
2.92
2.56
2.87
2.84
Future
.10
.39
.25
.48
.68
.91
.69
1.05
1.60
1.83
1.96
2.68
Universal / Exhaustive
Quantification
.20
.69
.88
1.00
1.21
1.55
2.41
2.18
2.50
2.89
2.72
2.71
Existential / Non-exhaustive
Quantification
.50
.46
.81
.91
1.58
1.27
2.45
2.27
2.73
3.00
2.88
2.87
.40
.31
1.13
.91
1.00
1.68
2.17
2.50
2.77
2.83
3.00
2.68
Present Perfect
.70
.69
1.06
1.26
1.63
1.36
2.41
2.59
2.50
2.56
2.80
2.65
Time conjunctions
OS Relative Clauses
SS Relative Clauses
.20
.30
.40
.69
.08
.23
.81
.56
.38
1.04
.70
.65
1.26
1.00
1.16
1.32
1.55
.82
1.97
1.97
1.48
1.91
1.96
1.68
2.07
1.93
1.87
2.78
2.28
2.44
2.60
2.32
2.44
2.68
2.55
2.77
SO Relative Clauses
.10
.54
.63
.61
1.21
.86
1.28
1.55
1.67
2.06
2.24
2.42
.43
45.6
.59
25.3
.79
.97
33.6
1.30
11.0
1.46
2.03
12.5
2.13
8.2
2.32
2.61
4.4
2.64
3.3
2.73
--
B. Dissimilar:
Passive
AVERAGE, all structures
OWH - %
47
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3
9
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3
6
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0
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3
3
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0
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3
0
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0
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2
7
.0
0
M
O
N
E
O
E
H
W
E
H
O
W
H
2
4
.0
0
2
1
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0
1
8
.0
0
1
5
.0
0
1
2
.0
0
9
.0
0
6
.0
0
3
.0
0
0
.0
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!
2
3
4
5
7
8
1
3
1
5
M
O
N
E
1
3
.6
6
2
2
.4
0
3
2
.6
5
3
6
.9
0
O
E
H
1
0
.0
0
1
9
.1
6
3
0
.8
3
3
5
.9
4
W
E
H
5
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3
1
9
.0
0
2
9
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1
3
5
.8
8
O
W
H
5
.9
1
1
6
.3
9
2
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.3
0
3
6
.2
6
48
8
Figure 2. Performance on Welsh Receptive Grammar by Age and Home Language
3
9
-
O
E
H
W
E
H
O
W
H
3
6
3
3
3
0
2
7
2
4
2
1
1
8
1
5
1
2
9
6
3
0
2
3
4
5
7
8
1
3
1
5
O
E
H
5
.0
9
1
3
.3
2
2
5
.8
7
3
4
.0
0
W
E
H
5
.5
6
1
6
.8
5
2
6
.8
2
3
4
.3
2
O
W
H
7
.6
8
1
8
.9
1
2
9
.5
8
3
5
.4
5
-
49
11
FIGURE 3. Model of distinct semantic organization in two languages (from Gathercole &
Moawad, 2010)
50
12
FIGURE 4. Performance on English and Arabic by Bilinguals and Monolinguals (from
Gathercole & Moawad, 2010)
ENGLISH DATA
ARABIC DATA
51
FOOTNOTES
i
Welsh has another future form, in which the verb takes a finite inflection. That form was not
tested here.
ii
This term is taken from the phonetics/phonemic distinction – the former has to do with the raw,
objective nature of sounds, the latter with the structuring and functioning of the sound system and
contrasts in it in the particular language.
iii
This type of category is most similar to phonemic categories in phonology—we can specify the
phoneme on the basis of shared phonetic features, and the phones brought together by that phoneme
are often treated as indistinguishable by native speakers of the language.
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