Item Details

Bilingual children’s use of lexical strategies under narrative monologue and dialogue conditions

Issue: Vol 1 No. 2 (2014)

Journal: Language and Sociocultural Theory

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lst.v1i2.101


Purpose: This study examined lexical strategies produced by Spanish-English bilingual kindergartners across two different narrative elicitation tasks.
Method: Fifty participants (M = 67.24 months) produced narratives in English under monologue and dialogue conditions. Participants were placed in high and low language performance groups determined by results from a bilingual language screener. Per parent report, children were matched by age, current language use, and age of first exposure to English.. Analyses examined strategy types across participants’ performance levels and task condition. Further evaluation compared strategy usage with general language productivity measures.
Results: Child learners access similar lexical strategies as reported for adult second language learners. Performance level did not differentiate strategy type and frequency of use. Overall, participants relied more on all-purpose words and code-switching in the monologue condition, while employment of word approximation and literal translation increased during the mediated dialogue sessions.
Conclusions: Participants adjusted lexical strategy use according to narrative condition.The application of mediated learning serves as an instructional model that reveals information specific to young second language learners. Application of all-purpose words, word approximations, and literal translation influenced utterance length and lexical diversity.
Implications: Insight to the characteristics of bilingual children’s language processing skills guides evidenced-based instructional decisions.

Author: Kai Jason Greene, Lisa M Bedore, Elizabeth D Peña

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