BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
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An inquiry into the typical and atypical language development of young transnational multilingual children in an international school

Greenall, Lorna Elizabeth (2020). An inquiry into the typical and atypical language development of young transnational multilingual children in an international school. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

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This PhD thesis investigates some of the unique characteristics of young transnational multilingual children aged five to eleven from high-socioeconomic status families educated in an international school in Switzerland. Its purpose is to improve understanding of typical and atypical language development for this group. It draws on sociolinguistic research on language variation and exposure, and clinical linguistic research on developmental language disorder identification and cross-linguistic considerations. The specific aim of the pilot research study presented in this thesis is to measure and discuss seven multilingual children’s verbal language abilities in each of their languages, and to measure their combined bilingual verbal abilities and multilingual verbal abilities. It is, therefore, influenced by discussion on language acquisition theories that relate to complex and dynamic systems, such as the Dynamic Model of Multilingualism. In addition, it also identifies any common characteristics, familial language practices or experiences of the pilot group of children. A methodological design is created that could be replicated in the future on a much larger scale as a means of confirming, extending or disputing the findings from the pilot group. This thesis’s pilot research findings suggest that multilingual children from high-income families who attend international schools have significantly above average verbal language abilities when their verbal language abilities are evaluated as one total language system (multilingual ability), a finding that is in stark contrast to the ‘average’ results they receive when each language is evaluated on its own. The thesis concludes that research on multilingual children that does not take into account the variables unique to this group may fail to recognise important factors that can impact their language development.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Single
Date of Defense: 30 October 2020
Subjects: 400 Language
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
Institute / Center: 06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Germanic Languages
Depositing User: Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2021 08:05
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2021 00:30

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