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Languages, Volume 6, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 58 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Morphosyntactic tasks differentially impose demands on the cognitive mechanisms underpinning bilingual language processing. We explore the contribution of nonverbal working memory and processing speed on morphosyntactic knowledge for young school-age Spanish–English bilinguals. Results showed differential contributions of nonverbal cognition by language after controlling for age and language exposure. While processing speed and nonverbal working memory were not significantly related to Spanish morphosyntactic performance, predictive relationships differed by task for English. English narrative tasks were significantly predicted by processing speed; however, English grammatical cloze tasks taxed working memory. These findings support the theoretical conceptualization of how bilinguals leverage domain-general mechanisms to support performance on tasks tapping domain-specific processes. [...] Read more.
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Article
Attitudes towards Turkish and Turks in Austria: From Guestworkers to “Quasi-Foreigners” in a Changing Social Landscape
Languages 2021, 6(1), 58; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010058 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 720
Abstract
In Austria, Turkish immigrants have long suffered from the stigma of being the uneducated and unintegrated guestworker, often portrayed as marginalised and as living in parallel societies. However, second-generation Turks who were born and/or raised in Austria have challenged this stigma profoundly. This [...] Read more.
In Austria, Turkish immigrants have long suffered from the stigma of being the uneducated and unintegrated guestworker, often portrayed as marginalised and as living in parallel societies. However, second-generation Turks who were born and/or raised in Austria have challenged this stigma profoundly. This paper argues that this has led to a re-indexicalisation of Turkish in Austria. Evidence for this is drawn from two matched-guise studies (n = 226) that aimed to unearth the covert language attitudes of Austrian participants towards Turkish. The data presented shows that many Austrian participants still conceive of the Turkish guises in overall xenophobic terms. They were depicted as more aggressive, less educated, less integrated, more joyous of life and more family-oriented when compared to the German guises. There was, however, an age-effect indicative of changing attitudes among participants born after 1998, for whom this stereotype seems to be losing its influence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multilingualism in Migrant Contexts)
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Article
Navigating the London-French Transnational Space: The Losses and Gains of Language as Embodied and Embedded Symbolic Capital
Languages 2021, 6(1), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010057 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 855
Abstract
In this article, an interdisciplinary lens is applied to French migrants’ reflections on their everyday language practices, investigating how embodied and embedded language, such as accent and London-French translanguaging, serve as both in-group and out-group symbolic markers in different transnational spaces. Key sociological [...] Read more.
In this article, an interdisciplinary lens is applied to French migrants’ reflections on their everyday language practices, investigating how embodied and embedded language, such as accent and London-French translanguaging, serve as both in-group and out-group symbolic markers in different transnational spaces. Key sociological concepts developed by Pierre Bourdieu are deployed, including field, habitus, hysteresis and symbolic capital, to assess the varying symbolic conversion rates of the migrants’ languaging practices across transnational spaces. A mixed-methodological and analytical approach is taken, combining narratives from ethnographic interviews and autobiography. Based on the data gathered, the article posits that the French accent is an embodied symbolic marker, experienced as an internalised dialectic: a barrier to inclusion/belonging in London and an escape from the symbolic weight of the originary accent in France. Subsequently, it argues that the migrants’ translanguaging functions as a spontaneous insider vernacular conducive to community identity construction in the postmigration space, but (mis)interpreted as an exclusionary articulation of symbolic distinction in the premigration context. Finally, the article asks whether participants’ linguistic repertoires, self-identifications and spatialities go beyond the notion of the ‘cleft habitus’, or even hybridity, to a post-structural, translanguaging third space that transcends borders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multilingualism in Migrant Contexts)
Article
Regular and Irregular Inflection in Different Groups of Bilingual Children and the Role of Verbal Short-Term and Verbal Working Memory
Languages 2021, 6(1), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010056 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 800
Abstract
Bilingual children often experience difficulties with inflectional morphology. The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate how regularity of inflection in combination with verbal short-term and working memory (VSTM, VWM) influences bilingual children’s performance. Data from 231 typically developing five- to eight-year-old [...] Read more.
Bilingual children often experience difficulties with inflectional morphology. The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate how regularity of inflection in combination with verbal short-term and working memory (VSTM, VWM) influences bilingual children’s performance. Data from 231 typically developing five- to eight-year-old children were analyzed: Dutch monolingual children (N = 45), Frisian-Dutch bilingual children (N = 106), Turkish-Dutch bilingual children (N = 31), Tarifit-Dutch bilingual children (N = 38) and Arabic-Dutch bilingual children (N = 11). Inflection was measured with an expressive morphology task. VSTM and VWM were measured with a Forward and Backward Digit Span task, respectively. The results showed that, overall, children performed more accurately at regular than irregular forms, with the smallest gap between regulars and irregulars for monolinguals. Furthermore, this gap was smaller for older children and children who scored better on a non-verbal intelligence measure. In bilingual children, higher accuracy at using (irregular) inflection was predicted by a smaller cross-linguistic distance, a larger amount of Dutch at home, and a higher level of parental education. Finally, children with better VSTM, but not VWM, were more accurate at using regular and irregular inflection. Full article
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Article
Tracking Biliteracy Skills in Students Attending Gaelic Medium Education: Effects of Learning Experience on Overall Reading Skills
Languages 2021, 6(1), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010055 - 20 Mar 2021
Viewed by 938
Abstract
This study describes the validation of a reading assessment developed for speakers of Scottish Gaelic, an endangered language spoken in Scotland. The test is designed to investigate the areas of reading for understanding, reading errors and reading speed. This study will present the [...] Read more.
This study describes the validation of a reading assessment developed for speakers of Scottish Gaelic, an endangered language spoken in Scotland. The test is designed to investigate the areas of reading for understanding, reading errors and reading speed. This study will present the data on a group of Gaelic/English speakers on both the Gaelic and the English version of the test and of a group of English speakers on the English version of the reading test, aiming at comparing reading abilities in children attending a Gaelic medium education (GME) and children in English medium education (EME) living in the same urban area. The paper reports two studies. The first study presents data on 77 children bilingual in Gaelic/English recruited across four levels of primary school on reading in Gaelic. The second study looks at the performance on a version of the test adapted for English, comparing the performance of two groups of children (bilinguals Gaelic/English and monolinguals English) on several linguistic skills, including sentence comprehension and reading. About 40 monolingual English subjects in EME, living in the same urban area, were administered the English version. The reading abilities of the children attending EME and GME schools were comparable, supporting the idea of no disadvantage on reading from attending a school with the medium of a minority language. If differences were found, these were in favour of the bilingual Gaelic/English children, who attained better results in all linguistic tasks in English in the older groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language and Literacy in Bilingual Learners)
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Editorial
Exploring Cross-Linguistic Effects and Phonetic Interactions in the Context of Bilingualism: Introducing the Special Issue
Languages 2021, 6(1), 54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010054 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Bilinguals who have acquired both of their languages simultaneously since birth or have learned their first language (L1) and their second language (L2) sequentially, as children or as adults, are able to produce and perceive two different sound systems [...] Full article
Article
Sociolinguistic Awareness in Galician Bilinguals: Evidence from an Accent Identification Task
Languages 2021, 6(1), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010053 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1128
Abstract
The inclusion of European minority languages in public spaces such as education, administration and the media has led to the emergence of a new profile of speakers, “new speakers”, who typically acquire a minority language through education, but vary in terms of their [...] Read more.
The inclusion of European minority languages in public spaces such as education, administration and the media has led to the emergence of a new profile of speakers, “new speakers”, who typically acquire a minority language through education, but vary in terms of their language experience and use. The present study investigated whether a distinctive variety spoken by Galician new speakers (neofalantes) has emerged in the community and whether listeners’ language background influences accent identification abilities and patterns. Galician-Spanish bilingual listeners completed an accent identification task and were asked to comment on factors influencing their decision. Results demonstrated that all listeners could identify Galician-dominant better than Spanish-dominant bilinguals but could not identify neofalantes. Neofalantes were categorised as both Spanish- and Galician-dominant, supporting the idea that neofalantes have a hybrid variety. This finding suggests that listeners have a gradient representation of language background variation, with Galician-like and Spanish-like accents functioning as anchors and the neofalantes’ accent situated somewhere in the middle. Identification accuracy was similar for all listeners but neofalantes showed heightened sensitivity to the Galician-dominant variety, suggesting that evaluation of sociophonetic features depends on the listener’s language and social background. These findings contribute to our understanding of sociolinguistic awareness in bilingual contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Psychological Factors in Bilingual Speech Production)
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Article
Variable Modality in Pintupi-Luritja Purposive Clauses
Languages 2021, 6(1), 52; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010052 - 18 Mar 2021
Viewed by 954
Abstract
This paper investigates the modal and non-modal uses and readings of the purposive suffix in the Western Desert (Pama-Nyungan) language Pintupi-Luritja. It is shown that the suffix is associated with a range of root-modal readings, with some variability in modal force. The modal [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the modal and non-modal uses and readings of the purposive suffix in the Western Desert (Pama-Nyungan) language Pintupi-Luritja. It is shown that the suffix is associated with a range of root-modal readings, with some variability in modal force. The modal readings are investigated in a variety of non-upward-entailing environments and compared with those of other variable modal force languages as described in the literature. I suggest that the purposive suffix does not behave in the same way as in these languages, which suggests that the typology of variable force modality is not uniform. I conclude by suggesting a connection to the modality described in non-finite and nominalised environments in a number of other languages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Article
Morphosyntactic Development in First Generation Arabic—English Children: The Effect of Cognitive, Age, and Input Factors over Time and across Languages
Languages 2021, 6(1), 51; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010051 - 17 Mar 2021
Viewed by 961
Abstract
This longitudinal study examined morphosyntactic development in the heritage Arabic-L1 and English-L2 of first-generation Syrian refugee children (mean age = 9.5; range = 6–13) within their first three years in Canada. Morphosyntactic abilities were measured using sentence repetition tasks (SRTs) in English and [...] Read more.
This longitudinal study examined morphosyntactic development in the heritage Arabic-L1 and English-L2 of first-generation Syrian refugee children (mean age = 9.5; range = 6–13) within their first three years in Canada. Morphosyntactic abilities were measured using sentence repetition tasks (SRTs) in English and Syrian Arabic that included diverse morphosyntactic structures. Direct measures of verbal and non-verbal cognitive skills were obtained, and a parent questionnaire provided the age at L2 acquisition onset (AOA) and input variables. We found the following: Dominance in the L1 was evident at both time periods, regardless of AOA, and growth in bilingual abilities was found over time. Cognitive skills accounted for substantial variance in SRT scores in both languages and at both times. An older AOA was associated with superior SRT scores at Time−1 for both languages, but at Time-2, older AOA only contributed to superior SRT scores in Arabic. Using the L2 with siblings gave a boost to English at Time−1 but had a negative effect on Arabic at Time-2. We conclude that first-generation children show strong heritage-L1 maintenance early on, and individual differences in cognitive skills have stable effects on morphosyntax in both languages over time, but age and input factors have differential effects on each language and over time. Full article
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Review
Home and School Language Practices and Their Effects on Heritage Language Acquisition: A View from Heritage Italians in Germany
Languages 2021, 6(1), 50; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010050 - 17 Mar 2021
Viewed by 861
Abstract
This paper intends to provide some speculative remarks on how consistency and continuity in language use practices within and across contexts inform heritage language acquisition outcomes. We intend “consistency” as maintenance of similar patterns of home language use over the years. “Continuity” refers [...] Read more.
This paper intends to provide some speculative remarks on how consistency and continuity in language use practices within and across contexts inform heritage language acquisition outcomes. We intend “consistency” as maintenance of similar patterns of home language use over the years. “Continuity” refers to the possibility for heritage language speakers to be exposed to formal education in the heritage language. By means of a questionnaire study, we analyze to what extent Italian heritage families in Germany are consistent in their use of the heritage language with their children. Furthermore, by analyzing the educational offer related to Italian as a heritage language across different areas in Germany, we reflect on children’s opportunities to experience continuity between home and school language practices. Finally, we interpret the results of previous studies on Italian heritage language acquisition through the lens of consistency and continuity of language experience. In particular, we show that under the appropriate language experience conditions (involving consistency and continuity), heritage speakers may be successful even in the acquisition of linguistic phenomena that have been shown to be acquired late in first language acquisition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heritage Languages in Germany)
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Article
Does Timing in Acquisition Modulate Heritage Children’s Language Abilities? Evidence from the Greek LITMUS Sentence Repetition Task
Languages 2021, 6(1), 49; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010049 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 714
Abstract
Recent proposals suggest that timing in acquisition, i.e., the age at which a phenomenon is mastered by monolingual children, influences acquisition of the L2, interacting with age of onset of bilingualism and amount of L2 input. Here, we examine whether timing affects acquisition [...] Read more.
Recent proposals suggest that timing in acquisition, i.e., the age at which a phenomenon is mastered by monolingual children, influences acquisition of the L2, interacting with age of onset of bilingualism and amount of L2 input. Here, we examine whether timing affects acquisition of the bilingual child’s heritage language, possibly modulating the effects of environmental and child-internal factors. The performance of 6- to 12-year-old Greek heritage children residing in Germany (age of onset of German: 0–4 years) was assessed across a range of nine syntactic structures via the Greek LITMUS (Language Impairment Testing in Multilingual Settings) Sentence Repetition Task. Based on previous studies on monolingual Greek, the structures were classified as “early” (main clauses (SVO), coordination, clitics, complement clauses, sentential negation, non-referential wh-questions) or as “late” (referential wh-questions, relatives, adverbial clauses). Current family use of Greek and formal instruction in Greek (environmental), chronological age, and age of onset of German (child-internal) were assessed via the Questionnaire for Parents of Bilingual Children (PABIQ); short-term memory (child-internal) was measured via forward digit recall. Children’s scores were generally higher for early than for late acquired structures. Performance on the three early structures with the highest scores was predicted by the amount of current family use of Greek. Performance on the three late structures was additionally predicted by forward digit recall, indicating that higher short-term memory capacity is beneficial for correctly reconstructing structurally complex sentences. We suggest that the understanding of heritage language development and the role of child-internal and environmental factors will benefit from a consideration of timing in the acquisition of the different structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heritage Languages in Germany)
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Article
German or Not German: That Is the Question! On the Status of the Autochthonous Dialects in East Lorraine (France)
Languages 2021, 6(1), 48; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010048 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 661
Abstract
The European language world is characterized by an ideology of monolingualism and national languages. This language-related world view interacts with social debates and definitions about linguistic autonomy, diversity, and variation. For the description of border minorities and their sociolinguistic situation, however, this view [...] Read more.
The European language world is characterized by an ideology of monolingualism and national languages. This language-related world view interacts with social debates and definitions about linguistic autonomy, diversity, and variation. For the description of border minorities and their sociolinguistic situation, however, this view reaches its limits. In this article, the conceptual difficulties with a language area that crosses national borders are examined. It deals with the minority in East Lorraine (France) in particular. On the language-historical level, this minority is closely related to the language of its (big) neighbor Germany. At the same time, it looks back on a conflictive history with this country, has never filled a (subordinated) political–administrative unit, and has experienced very little public support. We want to address the questions of how speakers themselves reflect on their linguistic situation and what concepts and argumentative figures they bring up in relation to what (Germanic) variety. To this end, we look at statements from guideline-based interviews. In the paper, we present first observations gained through qualitative content analysis. Full article
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Article
Strengthening L3 French Motivation: The Differential Impact of Vision-Enhancing Activities
Languages 2021, 6(1), 47; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010047 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Even though the European Union has long promoted multilingualism, it has proven difficult to achieve widespread multilingual language competence beyond English through formal education in Europe. In Sweden, high dropout rates have been recorded in second foreign language (SFL) classes, and French is [...] Read more.
Even though the European Union has long promoted multilingualism, it has proven difficult to achieve widespread multilingual language competence beyond English through formal education in Europe. In Sweden, high dropout rates have been recorded in second foreign language (SFL) classes, and French is currently the most vulnerable language among the major SFLs with respect to the number of pupils and availability across the country. Therefore, an important question is how to increase the motivation for studying foreign languages other than English (LOTE), especially French. This paper reports on a semester-long quasi-experimental intervention study, with three activities designed to enhance pupils’ ideal L3 self (IL3S) and increase their intended effort (IE) to learn French. Data were collected in two grade 9 intervention classes (n = 45) and in a control class (n = 14) in Sweden using questionnaires and focus group interviews. We measured the effect of the intervention through pre- and post-tests in both groups and additionally after each activity in the intervention classes. The results showed no overall significant effect of the intervention, but a positive effect on IE among the students with the highest level of IL3S prior to the intervention. Moreover, gender differences were found for the initial activity on both IL3S and on IE. The results are discussed in relation to the ease of accessing the self-image and characteristics of IL3S that enhance activities and gender effects. Methodological challenges involved in intervention studies with intact classes are also highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Acquisition of French as a Second Language)
Article
The Effect of Perceptions: Instructor–Student Dynamics in the Spanish Heritage Classroom
Languages 2021, 6(1), 46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010046 - 14 Mar 2021
Viewed by 991
Abstract
The rising population of heritage speakers (HS) in university courses in the US has increased the need for instructors who understand the linguistic, social, and cultural profiles of their students. Recent research has discussed the need for specialized courses and their differentiation from [...] Read more.
The rising population of heritage speakers (HS) in university courses in the US has increased the need for instructors who understand the linguistic, social, and cultural profiles of their students. Recent research has discussed the need for specialized courses and their differentiation from second-language (L2) classes, as well as the intersection between HS and language attitudes. However, prior studies have not examined HS students’ language attitudes toward the sociolinguistic background of the instructors and their effect on classroom interactions. Therefore, this study explores HS students’ overall language attitudes and perceptions of their instructors’ sociolinguistic background. In a survey, HS university students (N = 92) across the US assessed four instructor profiles along five dimensions. Results showed that students rated more favorably instructors born and raised in Latin America, followed by those from Spain. Furthermore, HS favored these two profiles over HS or L2 profiles as their course instructors. However, preferences were less marked in the online context. These findings demonstrate that to design supportive learning spaces with—rather than for—HS students, programs must first acknowledge how classroom dynamics are shaped by the perspectives brought into the learning space and by the context of the learning space itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Instructed Heritage Language Acquisition in Diverse Contexts)
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Article
Object Sharing in Mbya Guarani: A Case of Asymmetrical Verbal Serialization?
Languages 2021, 6(1), 45; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010045 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 931
Abstract
In this paper, we intend to describe and discuss the grammatical status of the V1-V2 (Cy/vy) constructions found in Mbya Guarani which can express simultaneous events, among other meanings, and which involve a single clause. We suggest here that this verbal [...] Read more.
In this paper, we intend to describe and discuss the grammatical status of the V1-V2 (Cy/vy) constructions found in Mbya Guarani which can express simultaneous events, among other meanings, and which involve a single clause. We suggest here that this verbal complex can be treated as a case of asymmetrical verbal serialization because it contains verbs from a major lexical class, occupying the V1 slot, followed by a more restricted intransitive verbal class, such as movement, postural, or stative verbs, which stands in the V2 position. The curious property of these constructions is that V2 can be transitivized through the attachment of applicative or causative morphemes and “share” its object with transitive V1. “Object sharing” is another property attributed to serialization, as suggested by Baker and Baker and Stewart, which may be seen as a strong argument in favor of the present hypothesis. We will also provide evidence to distinguish Mbya Guarani V1-V2 (Cy/vy) complex from other constructions, such as temporal and purpose subordinate clauses, involving the particle vy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Languages of the Americas)
Article
The Role of Acoustic Similarity and Non-Native Categorisation in Predicting Non-Native Discrimination: Brazilian Portuguese Vowels by English vs. Spanish Listeners
Languages 2021, 6(1), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010044 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 835
Abstract
This study tests whether Australian English (AusE) and European Spanish (ES) listeners differ in their categorisation and discrimination of Brazilian Portuguese (BP) vowels. In particular, we investigate two theoretically relevant measures of vowel category overlap (acoustic vs. perceptual categorisation) as predictors of non-native [...] Read more.
This study tests whether Australian English (AusE) and European Spanish (ES) listeners differ in their categorisation and discrimination of Brazilian Portuguese (BP) vowels. In particular, we investigate two theoretically relevant measures of vowel category overlap (acoustic vs. perceptual categorisation) as predictors of non-native discrimination difficulty. We also investigate whether the individual listener’s own native vowel productions predict non-native vowel perception better than group averages. The results showed comparable performance for AusE and ES participants in their perception of the BP vowels. In particular, discrimination patterns were largely dependent on contrast-specific learning scenarios, which were similar across AusE and ES. We also found that acoustic similarity between individuals’ own native productions and the BP stimuli were largely consistent with the participants’ patterns of non-native categorisation. Furthermore, the results indicated that both acoustic and perceptual overlap successfully predict discrimination performance. However, accuracy in discrimination was better explained by perceptual similarity for ES listeners and by acoustic similarity for AusE listeners. Interestingly, we also found that for ES listeners, the group averages explained discrimination accuracy better than predictions based on individual production data, but that the AusE group showed no difference. Full article
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Article
Can You Make Better Decisions If You Are Bilingual?
Languages 2021, 6(1), 43; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010043 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Studies have shown that “framing bias,” a phenomenon in which two different presentations of the same decision-making problem provoke different answers, is reduced in a foreign language (the Foreign Language effect, FLe). Three explanations have emerged to account for the difference. First, the [...] Read more.
Studies have shown that “framing bias,” a phenomenon in which two different presentations of the same decision-making problem provoke different answers, is reduced in a foreign language (the Foreign Language effect, FLe). Three explanations have emerged to account for the difference. First, the cognitive enhancement hypothesis states that lower proficiency in the FL leads to more deliberate processing, reducing the framing bias. Second, contradicting the previous, the cognitive overload hypothesis, states that the cognitive load actually induces speakers to make less rational decisions in the FL. Finally, the reduced emotionality hypothesis suggests that speakers have less of an emotional connection to a foreign language (FL), causing an increase in rational language processing. Previous FLe research has involved both FL and non-FL speakers such as highly proficient acculturated bilinguals. Our study extends this research program to a population of heritage speakers of Spanish (HS speakers), whose second language (English) is dominant and who have comparable emotional resonances in both of their languages. We compare emotion-neutral and emotion-laden tasks: if reduced emotionality causes the FLe, it should only be present in emotion-laden tasks, but if it is caused by cognitive load, it should be present across tasks. Ninety-eight HS speakers, with varying degrees of proficiency in Spanish, exhibited cognitive biases across a battery of tasks: framing bias appeared in both cognitive-emotional and purely cognitive tasks, consistent with previous studies. Language of presentation (and proficiency) did not have a significant effect on responses in cognitive-emotional tasks, but did have an effect on the purely-cognitive Disjunction fallacy task: HS speakers did better in their second, more proficient language, a result consistent with neither the reduced emotionality hypothesis nor the cognitive enhancement hypothesis. Moreover, higher proficiency in Spanish significantly improved the rate of correct responses, indicating that our results are more consistent with the cognitive overload hypothesis. Full article
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Article
Typological Shift in Bilinguals’ L1: Word Order and Case Marking in Two Varieties of Child Quechua
Languages 2021, 6(1), 42; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010042 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1080
Abstract
We compare speech production and find morphosyntactic change among children and adolescents speaking two closely related varieties of Quechua in Cuzco, Peru, and Chuquisaca, Bolivia. Quechua languages traditionally employ Object-Verb (OV) word order in main clauses, but robust case marking permits other orders, [...] Read more.
We compare speech production and find morphosyntactic change among children and adolescents speaking two closely related varieties of Quechua in Cuzco, Peru, and Chuquisaca, Bolivia. Quechua languages traditionally employ Object-Verb (OV) word order in main clauses, but robust case marking permits other orders, especially to focalize new information through constituent fronting. In Chuquisaca, but not Cuzco, we find that schoolchildren often omit the accusative suffix -ta from direct objects while retaining a prosodic trace of -ta. In other varieties, loss of accusative marking is associated with a shift towards Verb-Object (VO) word order, as in Spanish. However, we find that Chuquisaqueños use more canonical OV and possessor-possessed order in declarative sentences than do Cuzqueños, who employ a wide range of word orders at the sentence level and deviate from the possessor-possessed norm for Quechua noun phrases. Our finding of more rigid word order in Chuquisaca highlights the complex factors contributing to typological shift in word order and morphology: Omission of case morphology places a greater burden on word order to identify grammatical roles. Further, we find that Chuquisaqueño schoolchildren alone have begun to use huk, “one,” to mark indefiniteness, perhaps to replace determiner-like functions ascribed to -ta and to obsolescent markers such as evidentials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Languages of the Americas)
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Article
Reinforcement of Grammatical Structures through Explicit Instruction in Palenquero Creole: A Pilot Study
Languages 2021, 6(1), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010041 - 04 Mar 2021
Viewed by 753
Abstract
The Afro-Hispanic creole, Palenquero, has been spoken (together with Spanish) in the village of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia, for centuries. Until recently, Palenquero was endangered due to prejudice, but language revitalization efforts are underway, and younger speakers are learning Palenquero, but with [...] Read more.
The Afro-Hispanic creole, Palenquero, has been spoken (together with Spanish) in the village of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia, for centuries. Until recently, Palenquero was endangered due to prejudice, but language revitalization efforts are underway, and younger speakers are learning Palenquero, but with little reinforcement out of school. The school instruction involves no grammatical explanations, almost no student production, or critical feedback. Adult speakers usually do not address younger speakers in Palenquero, thus leaving school-acquired forms suspended without reinforcement. This represents a unique scenario of heritage acquisition of a language with no bidirectional communication between younger and adult speakers. The present study focuses on the use of preverbal particles and prenominal plural marker by heritage speakers of Palenquero before and after explicit instruction. Communication activities explicitly presented the prenominal plural ma and preverbal particles, such as zero morpheme (simple present), asé (habitual), ta (progressive), a (perfective/simple past) and tan (future). Participants performed better at the post-test and results suggest that explicit explanation of grammatical rules, practice, repetition, and corrective feedback improved the usage of ma and tan. This result lines up with previous studies that posit the amount of time and exposure that learners need in order to acquire complex morphology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Instructed Heritage Language Acquisition in Diverse Contexts)
Article
Language, or Dialect, That Is the Question. How Attitudes Affect Language Statistics Using the Example of Low German
Languages 2021, 6(1), 40; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010040 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
This paper explores how attitudes affect the seemingly objective process of counting speakers of varieties using the example of Low German, Germany’s sole regional language. The initial focus is on the basic taxonomy of classifying a variety as a language or a dialect. [...] Read more.
This paper explores how attitudes affect the seemingly objective process of counting speakers of varieties using the example of Low German, Germany’s sole regional language. The initial focus is on the basic taxonomy of classifying a variety as a language or a dialect. Three representative surveys then provide data for the analysis: the Germany Survey 2008, the Northern Germany Survey 2016, and the Germany Survey 2017. The results of these surveys indicate that there is no consensus concerning the evaluation of Low German’s status and that attitudes towards Low German are related to, for example, proficiency in the language. These attitudes are shown to matter when counting speakers of Low German and investigating the status it has been accorded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
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Article
Phonological Awareness across Child Populations: How Bilingualism and Dyslexia Interact
Languages 2021, 6(1), 39; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010039 - 28 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1183
Abstract
Phonological awareness is a complex and multifaceted skill which plays an essential role in the development of an individual’s language and literacy abilities. Phonological skills are indeed dramatically impaired in people with dyslexia, at any age and across languages, whereas their development in [...] Read more.
Phonological awareness is a complex and multifaceted skill which plays an essential role in the development of an individual’s language and literacy abilities. Phonological skills are indeed dramatically impaired in people with dyslexia, at any age and across languages, whereas their development in bilinguals is less clear. In addition, the interaction between bilingualism and dyslexia in this domain is still under-investigated. The aim of this paper is to provide new experimental evidence on this topic by exploring the phonological competence in Italian of monolingual and bilingual children with and without dyslexia. To this purpose, we developed three tasks, assessing nonword repetition, rhyme detection and spoonerisms, which we administered to 148 10-year-old children in two distinct studies. In Study 1, we found that two groups of L2 Italian typically developing bilinguals, having either Arabic or Romanian as L1, performed similarly to Italian monolinguals in all measures, pointing to absence of both bilingualism-related and L1-related effects in these tasks. In Study 2, we administered the same tasks to four groups of children: Italian monolinguals with dyslexia, Italian monolingual typically developing children, L2 Italian bilinguals with dyslexia and L2 Italian bilingual typically developing children. Results showed that children with dyslexia, both monolingual and bilingual, exhibited significantly more difficulties than typically developing children in all three tasks, whereas bilinguals, consistent with Study 1, performed similarly to their monolingual peers. In addition, no negative effects of bilingualism in dyslexia were found, indicating that being bilingual does not provide additional difficulties to children with dyslexia. Full article
Article
A Corpus-Assisted Discourse Study of Attitudes toward Spanish as a Heritage Language in Florida
Languages 2021, 6(1), 38; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010038 - 28 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1258
Abstract
Spanish speakers constitute the largest heritage language community in the US. The state of Florida is unusual in that, on one hand, it has one of the highest foreign-born resident rates in the country, most of whom originate from Latin America—but on the [...] Read more.
Spanish speakers constitute the largest heritage language community in the US. The state of Florida is unusual in that, on one hand, it has one of the highest foreign-born resident rates in the country, most of whom originate from Latin America—but on the other hand, Florida has a comparatively low Spanish language vitality. In this exploratory study of attitudes toward Spanish as a heritage language in Florida, we analyzed two corpora (one English: 5,405,947 words, and one Spanish: 525,425 words) consisting of recent Twitter data. We examined frequencies, collocations, concordance lines, and larger text segments. The results indicate predominantly negative attitudes toward Spanish on the status dimension, but predominantly positive attitudes on the solidarity dimension. Despite the latter, transmission and use of Spanish were found to be affected by pressure to assimilate, and fear of negative societal repercussions. We also found Spanish to be used less frequently than English to tweet about attitudes; instead, Spanish was frequently used to attract Twitter users’ attention to specific links in the language. We discuss the implications of our findings (should they generalize) for the future of Spanish in Florida, and we provide directions for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
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Article
Understanding Heritage Language Learners’ Critical Language Awareness (CLA) in Mixed Language Programs
Languages 2021, 6(1), 37; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010037 - 27 Feb 2021
Viewed by 874
Abstract
Despite the prevalence of mixed language programs across the United States, their impact on the unique socio-affective needs of heritage language (HL) students has not been researched sufficiently. Therefore, the present study examines HL learners’ critical language awareness (CLA) in a mixed Spanish [...] Read more.
Despite the prevalence of mixed language programs across the United States, their impact on the unique socio-affective needs of heritage language (HL) students has not been researched sufficiently. Therefore, the present study examines HL learners’ critical language awareness (CLA) in a mixed Spanish undergraduate program at a small private university in the eastern United States. Sixteen HL learners enrolled in different Spanish upper-level courses participated in the study. Respondents completed an existing questionnaire to measure CLA, which includes 19 Likert-type items addressing different areas, such as language variation, language ideologies, bilingualism, and language maintenance. Overall, the results show that learners in the mixed language program under study have “somewhat high” and “high” levels of CLA. The increased levels of CLA in learners who had completed three courses or more in the program, coupled with their strong motivation, suggests that this program contributes positively toward HL students’ CLA. However, respondents’ answers also reveal standard language ideologies, as well as the personal avoidance of code-switching. Based on these findings, two areas that could benefit from a wider representation in the curriculum of mixed language programs are discussed: language ideologies and plurilingual language practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Instructed Heritage Language Acquisition in Diverse Contexts)
Article
Contribution of Nonverbal Cognitive Skills on Bilingual Children’s Grammatical Performance: Influence of Exposure, Task Type, and Language of Assessment
Languages 2021, 6(1), 36; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010036 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1157
Abstract
This study explores the contribution of nonverbal working memory and processing speed on bilingual children’s morphosyntactic knowledge, after controlling for language exposure. Participants include 307 Spanish–English bilinguals in Kindergarten, second, and fourth grade (mean age = 7;8, SD = 18 months). Morphosyntactic knowledge [...] Read more.
This study explores the contribution of nonverbal working memory and processing speed on bilingual children’s morphosyntactic knowledge, after controlling for language exposure. Participants include 307 Spanish–English bilinguals in Kindergarten, second, and fourth grade (mean age = 7;8, SD = 18 months). Morphosyntactic knowledge in English and Spanish was measured using two separate language tasks: a cloze task and a narrative language task. In a series of four hierarchical linear regressions predicting cloze and narrative performance in English and Spanish, we evaluate the proportion of variance explained after adding (a) English exposure, (b) processing speed and working memory, and (c) interaction terms to the model. The results reveal the differential contribution of nonverbal cognitive skills across English and Spanish. Cognition was not significantly related to performance on either grammatical cloze or narrative tasks in Spanish. Narrative tasks in English were significantly predicted by processing speed, after controlling for age and exposure. Grammatical cloze tasks in English posed an additional cognitive demand on working memory. The findings suggest that cognitive demands vary for bilinguals based on the language of assessment and the task. Full article
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Article
Can Frequency Account for the Grammatical Choices of Children and Adults in Nominal Modification Contexts? Evidence from Elicited Production and Child-Directed Speech
Languages 2021, 6(1), 35; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010035 - 26 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 735
Abstract
There is consensus that languages possess several grammatical variants satisfying the same conversational function. Nevertheless, it is a matter of debate which principles guide the adult speaker’s choice and the child’s acquisition order of these variants. Various proposals have suggested that frequency shapes [...] Read more.
There is consensus that languages possess several grammatical variants satisfying the same conversational function. Nevertheless, it is a matter of debate which principles guide the adult speaker’s choice and the child’s acquisition order of these variants. Various proposals have suggested that frequency shapes adult language use and language acquisition. Taking the domain of nominal modification as its testing ground, this paper explores in two studies the role that frequency of structures plays for adults’ and children’s structural choices in German. In Study 1, 133 three- to six-year-old children and 21 adults were tested with an elicited production task prompting participants to identify an agent or a patient referent among a set of alternatives. Study 2 analyzed a corpus of child-directed speech to examine the frequency of passive relative clauses, which children, similar to adults, produced very often in Study 1. Importantly, passive relatives were found to be infrequent in the child input. These two results show that the high production rate of rare structures, such as passive relatives, is difficult to account for with frequency. We claim that the relation between frequency in natural speech and use of a given variant in a specific context is indirect: speakers may opt for the less grammatically complex computation rather than for the variant most frequently used in spontaneous speech. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Empirical Approaches to Grammatical Variation and Change)
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Review
Input Issues in the Development of L2 French Morphosyntax
Languages 2021, 6(1), 34; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010034 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 762
Abstract
The aim of this article is to discuss the role of input characteristics in the development of French verb morphology. From a usage-based perspective, several cognitive and linguistic factors contribute to the ease or difficulty of processing input in L2 acquisition. This article [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to discuss the role of input characteristics in the development of French verb morphology. From a usage-based perspective, several cognitive and linguistic factors contribute to the ease or difficulty of processing input in L2 acquisition. This article concentrates on frequency, salience, and form–function association, factors that might influence what aspects of input are available to the learners’ attention. A presentation of French verb morphology from this perspective shows how these factors can contribute to the use of the regular -er verb paradigm as a default. A review of empirical studies confirms the influence of input characteristics. The results suggest that the dominant pattern of regular verbs and the scarcity of salient clues from irregular verbs contribute to the specificity of L2 French development. The conclusion addresses the question of enriching L2 classroom input with irregular verbs. Such an input could facilitate the perception of form–function association, and thus, contribute to a more efficient development of French verb morphology. The article concludes by suggesting other ways of studying the influence of input as well as avenues for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Acquisition of French as a Second Language)
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Article
Where Are the Goalposts? Generational Change in the Use of Grammatical Gender in Irish
Languages 2021, 6(1), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010033 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 932
Abstract
The Irish language is an indigenous minority language undergoing accelerated convergence with English against a backdrop of declining intergenerational transmission, universal bilingualism, and exposure to large numbers of L2 speakers. Recent studies indicate that the interaction of complex morphosyntax and variable levels of [...] Read more.
The Irish language is an indigenous minority language undergoing accelerated convergence with English against a backdrop of declining intergenerational transmission, universal bilingualism, and exposure to large numbers of L2 speakers. Recent studies indicate that the interaction of complex morphosyntax and variable levels of consistent input result in some aspects of Irish grammar having a long trajectory of acquisition or not being fully acquired. Indeed, for the small group of children who are L1 speakers of Irish, identifying which “end point” of this trajectory is appropriate against which to assess these children’s acquisition of Irish is difficult. In this study, data were collected from 135 proficient adult speakers and 306 children (aged 6–13 years) living in Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht) communities, using specially designed measures of grammatical gender. The results show that both quality and quantity of input appear to impact on acquisition of this aspect of Irish morphosyntax: even the children acquiring Irish in homes where Irish is the dominant language showed poor performance on tests of grammatical gender marking, and the adult performance on these tests indicate that children in Irish-speaking communities are likely to be exposed to input showing significant grammatical variability in Irish gender marking. The implications of these results will be discussed in terms of language convergence, and the need for intensive support for mother-tongue speakers of Irish. Full article
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Article
Understanding High Performance in Late Second Language (L2) Acquisition—What Is the Secret? A Contrasting Case Study in L2 French
Languages 2021, 6(1), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010032 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1094
Abstract
Adult L2 acquisition has often been framed within research on the Critical Period Hypothesis, and the age factor is one of the most researched topics of SLA. However, several researchers suggest that while age is the most important factor for differences between child [...] Read more.
Adult L2 acquisition has often been framed within research on the Critical Period Hypothesis, and the age factor is one of the most researched topics of SLA. However, several researchers suggest that while age is the most important factor for differences between child and adult SLA, variation in adult SLA is more dependent on social and psychological factors than on age of onset. The present qualitative study investigates the role of migratory experience, language use/social networks, language learning experience, identity and attitudes for high performance among Swedish L1 French L2 users in France. The study constitutes an in-depth thematic analysis of interviews with six high-performing individuals and four low-performing individuals. The main results show that the high performers differ from the low performers on all dimensions, except for attitudes towards the host community. High performers are above all characterized by self-reported language aptitude and an early interest in languages, which appears to have led to rich exposure to French. Also, they exhibit self-regulatory behaviors and attribute importance to being perceived as a native speaker of French—both for instrumental and existential reasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Acquisition of French as a Second Language)
Article
L2 Knowledge of the Obligatory French Subjunctive: Offline Measures and Eye Tracking Compared
Languages 2021, 6(1), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010031 - 17 Feb 2021
Viewed by 734
Abstract
Extensive research has shown that second language (L2) learners find it difficult to apply grammatical knowledge during real-time processing, especially when differences exist between the first (L1) and L2. The current study examines the extent to which British English-speaking learners of French can [...] Read more.
Extensive research has shown that second language (L2) learners find it difficult to apply grammatical knowledge during real-time processing, especially when differences exist between the first (L1) and L2. The current study examines the extent to which British English-speaking learners of French can apply their grammatical knowledge of the French subjunctive during real-time processing, and whether this ability is modulated by the properties of the L1 grammar, and/or proficiency. Data from an acceptability judgment task and an eye-tracking during reading experiment revealed that L2 learners had knowledge of the subjunctive, but were unable to apply this knowledge when reading for comprehension. Such findings therefore suggest that L2 knowledge of the subjunctive, at least at the proficiency levels tested in this study, is largely metalinguistic (explicit) in nature and that reduced lexical access and/or limited computational resources (e.g., working memory) prevented learners from fully utilising their grammatical representations during real-time processing. Full article
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Article
A Long-Lasting CofP of New and Native Speakers—Practices, Identities of Belonging and Motives for Participation
Languages 2021, 6(1), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010030 - 15 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1166
Abstract
Within sociolinguistic research on small languages like Low German, differentiation into new and native speakers has become established. The relationship between the two different groups of speakers is sometimes conceptualized as an insurmountable “gap”. In addition to different acquisition paths and competencies, identity [...] Read more.
Within sociolinguistic research on small languages like Low German, differentiation into new and native speakers has become established. The relationship between the two different groups of speakers is sometimes conceptualized as an insurmountable “gap”. In addition to different acquisition paths and competencies, identity discourses of belonging, authority and authenticity, as well as typical practices, are all crucial elements of these differences. Despite these differences, the intergenerational language-centered analog community of practice (CofP) “Plattdüütschkring” consisting of approximately 10 new and native speakers of the regional language Low German has existed since 2005. This article is based on an explorative case-study analyzing the network “Plattdüütschkring” as an example of successful cooperation between new speakers and native speakers on the basis of typical attitudes and linguistic practices. In order to gain authentic, subjectively experienced insights into identities, normative conceptions and individual language experiences within and outside the network, meta-linguistic reflections of the members themselves were analyzed. These meta-linguistic reflections were collected through narrative interviews with the same and different members at the two survey dates 2010/11 and 2020. The findings show norms of monolingual language use, narrative identities of a normative hierarchy of acquisition scenarios and competences as aspects of belonging. Social and learning-oriented and thus multiple individually appropriate functions of the network can explain the motivation for long-term membership. These outcomes help to understand the role of language attitudes in CofP in the language development of small languages as well as abstract characteristics of successful language-centered networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
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Article
A Crosslinguistic Study of Child Code-Switching within the Noun Phrase: A Usage-Based Perspective
Languages 2021, 6(1), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010029 - 13 Feb 2021
Viewed by 791
Abstract
This paper aims to investigate whether language use can account for the differences in code-switching within the article-noun phrase in children exposed to English and German, French and Russian, and English and Polish. It investigates two aspects of language use: equivalence and segmentation. [...] Read more.
This paper aims to investigate whether language use can account for the differences in code-switching within the article-noun phrase in children exposed to English and German, French and Russian, and English and Polish. It investigates two aspects of language use: equivalence and segmentation. Four children’s speech is derived from corpora of naturalistic interactions recorded between the ages of two and three and used as a source of the children’s article-noun phrases. We demonstrate that children’s CS cannot be fully explained by structural equivalence in each two languages: there is CS in French-Russian although French does, and Russian does not, use articles. We also demonstrate that language pairs which use higher numbers of articles types, and therefore have more segmented article-noun phrases, are also more open to switching. Lastly, we show that longitudinal use of monolingual articles-noun phrases corresponds with the trends in the use of bilingual article-noun phrases. The German-English child only starts to mix English articles once they become more established in monolingual combinations while the French-Russian child ceases to mix French proto-articles with Russian nouns once target articles enter frequent use. These findings are discussed in the context of other studies which report code-switching across different language pairs. Full article
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