Special Issue "Children’s Acquisition of Morpho-Syntax: The Interplay of Input, Complexity and Learner Cognitive Skills"
A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020).
Interests: bilingual language acquisition; bilingual language processing; language development
Interests: language acquisition; language learning strategies; language teaching; second and third language acquisition
This Special Issue focuses on the variables that affect children’s morpho-syntactic development, particularly in the context of monolingual vs. bilingual language learning. Within usage-based accounts (Tomasello 2009, Bybee 2006), it is suggested that children learn what they hear most frequently. This applies not only to the acquisition of vocabulary, but also inflectional morphology and syntactic constructions (Ambridge et al. 2015).
Input frequency has been identified as an important factor for both monolingual and bilingual development, as well as early L2 learning, where it has been found to be at least as significant as the age of onset in the acquisition of verb morphology (Unsworth 2016). Children who grow up with two languages seem to have less exposure to each of their languages and should show slower acquisition, yet studies show that other factors, such as the complexity of the structure to be learnt, also have an influence on learners (Paradis 2010). This is in line with a constructivist account (Gathercole’s 2007), which assumes an interaction between learner knowledge and structure.
On the other hand, it has been found that children growing up with two languages (both from birth as well as with later onset in an immersion setting) have enhanced skills in executive functions (Bialystok 2018). This raises the question to what extent the cognitive skills of the learner impact on the acquisition of morpho-syntax and how these interact with the variables outlined above, i.e., input frequency and structural complexity.
The Special Issue aims to make a contribution to the discussion of the interplay of these variables in monolingual versus bilingual/early L2 learners of different languages. While input frequency has been discussed in the context of monolingual and bilingual acquisition, the constructivist account and the presence of a cognitive advantage have been studied mainly in the context of bilingual learning. However, the advantage also seems to extend to early L2 learners who have been attending immersion schools for some time (Bialystok & Barac 2012).
We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editors ([email protected] & [email protected]) or to /Languages/ editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring a proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo a double-blind peer review.
- Abstract Submission Deadline: 15th September 2020;
- Notification of Acceptance: 30th September 2020;
- Full manuscript deadline: 30th November 2020.
Ambridge, B., Kidd, E., Rowland, C, & Theakston, A. (2015). The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition. Journal of Child Language 42 (2), 239-273.
Bybee, J. (2006). From usage to grammar: The mind’s response to repetition. Language, 82 (4), 711–733.
Bialystok, E. (2018). Bilingualism and executive function. In D. Miller, F. Bayram, J. Rothman & L. Serratrice, (Eds.), Bilingual Cognition and Language (pp. 283–306). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Bialystok, E. & Barac, R. (2012). Emerging bilingualism: Dissociating advantages for metalinguistic awareness and executive control. Cognition, 122, 67–73.
Gathercole, V. (2007). Miami and North Wales, so far and yet so near: A Constructivist account of morpho-syntactic development in bilingual children. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10, 22–247.
Paradis, J (2010). Bilingual Children's Acquisition of English Verb Morphology: Effects of Language Exposure, Structure Complexity, and Task Type. Language Learning 60 (3), 651–680.
Tomasello, M. (2009). The usage-based theory of language acquisition. In E. Bavin, (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Child Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Unsworth, S. (2016). Early child L2 acquisition: Age or input effects? Neither, or both? Journal of Child Language, 43 (3), 608-634.Dr. Christina Schelletter
Dr. Anja Steinlen
Manuscript Submission Information
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- input frequency
- structure complexity
- learner cognitive skills