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Language exposure effects on receptive vocabulary and narrative productivity in French/English bilingual elementary school children

Abstract : Language exposure effects on receptive vocabulary and narrative productivity in French/English bilingual elementary school children Amount of exposure has been shown to impact on bilingual children's linguistic development (e.g., Cohen, 2016; Cohen & Mazur-Palandre, 2018; Thordardottir, 2011; Unsworth, 2013). This study seeks to examine oral language in both languages of two groups of typically developing French/English bilingual (or emergent bilingual) children (group 1: N = 21, mean age = 6;4; group 2: N = 33 , mean age = 10;3). Participants, who differ in the amount of exposure they have had to each language, attend a French/English dual language programme at a state school in France. We explore the effects of language exposure on several oral language performance variables. Three exposure indicators are provided through parent questionnaires: current exposure, cumulative exposure from birth and reading frequency (shared reading for group 1; autonomous reading for group 2). French and English data are collected using standardised receptive vocabulary tests (EVIP and BPVS) and a story generation task (Frog, where are you?). Narratives are coded in the CHAT format of CHILDES to assess a range of productivity measures relating to lexicon, morphosyntax and discourse: lexical diversity, measured by D Malvern (Malvern, Richards, Chipere, & Durán, 2004) and the number of different verbs; morphosyntactic errors; complex sentences; and fluency, measured by repetitions, reformulations and discourse speed. Correlations are computed between the language exposure and oral language performance measures. Overall, initial results provide further evidence that receptive vocabulary and certain narrative productivity measures, notably those relating to lexical diversity and morphosyntactic accuracy, are highly sensitive to exposure in each language. Most strikingly, reading frequency predicts oral language performance, particularly in the younger children. The study highlights the importance of working with children who are struggling in one of their languages of instruction, to enrich their lexical and morphosyntactic skills, essential for language and literacy development and overall academic success.
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Conference papers
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02085272
Contributor : Cathy Cohen <>
Submitted on : Monday, April 15, 2019 - 11:25:54 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 3:56:13 PM

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Cathy Cohen, Audrey Mazur-Palandre, Efstathia Soroli. Language exposure effects on receptive vocabulary and narrative productivity in French/English bilingual elementary school children. 12th International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB12), Jun 2019, Edmonton, Canada. ⟨halshs-02085272⟩

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