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Bilingual Welsh–English children's acquisition of vocabulary and reading: implications for bilingual education

Rhys, Mirain and Thomas, Enlli Mon 2013. Bilingual Welsh–English children's acquisition of vocabulary and reading: implications for bilingual education. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 16 (6) , pp. 633-656. 10.1080/13670050.2012.706248

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Previous studies have highlighted early differences in bilinguals’ rate of language acquisition in comparison with monolinguals. However, these differences seem to disappear with increasing age and exposure to the language, and do so quicker in dominant community languages than in minority status languages. This study aimed to replicate these findings in relation to literacy development. Three groups of Welsh-English bilinguals (L1 Welsh, simultaneous bilinguals and L1 English) were given receptive vocabulary tasks and reading tasks in Welsh and in English. An additional group of monolingual English-speaking controls was given the English tasks. Results revealed differential performance among the bilinguals in relation to the English tasks, with the L1 English bilinguals and monolinguals performing closer to age norms than L1Welsh and simultaneous bilinguals by the end of primary school education. No differences were found between the L1 English bilinguals and the monolinguals on either task. On the Welsh measures, performance mirrored those of previous studies, on both tasks, demonstrating higher levels of performance relative to increasing amounts of exposure to Welsh. The implications of these findings for bilingual education strategies, particularly in relation to the development of bilingual language competence in minority language situations, are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords: bilingualism, literacy, vocabulary, bilingual education, input
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1367-0050
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 03:26

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