Beyond cross-language transfer: Reconceptualizing the impact of early bilingualism on phonological awareness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study investigates effects of early bilingualism on phonological awareness that are abstract and beyond cross-language transfer. It extends the scope of previous research by systematically examining hypotheses derived from structural sensitivity theory. The theory postulates that having access to two languages renders structural similarities and differences between languages more salient, thus allowing bilingual children to form representations of language structure at a more abstract level. About 200 bilingual and monolingual kindergartners, first-graders, and second-graders in Taiwan participated in experiments taking into account the syllable structures, the phoneme inventories, and the phonotactics of the bilinguals' two languages. Findings from the study provide empirical support for structural sensitivity theory and indicate the need to reconceptualize the bilingual effect on metalinguistic development beyond cross-language transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-385
Number of pages21
JournalScientific Studies of Reading
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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