01/06/2005 Linguistics Psychology
DOI: 10.1177/13670069050090020301 SemanticScholar ID: 143881565 MAG: 2001094501

Language mixing and learning strategy

Publication Summary

This paper investigates the relationship between language mixing and learning strategy in one English-Italian bilingual child between 1;10 and 2;2. (Mean Length of Utterance in words 1.1−2.0). The first 200 multiword combinations in each language were searched for occurrences of mixing broadly defined as any utterance or conversation including elements from both languages. An asymmetrical pattern was found where language mixing was low overall and unidirectional, only English words were used in Italian contexts. In order to assess the learning strategy adopted by the child, all of the multiword utterances were further analyzed for level of lexical specificity following the criteria in Lieven, Pine and Baldwin (1997). The results showed a high proportion of frozen utterances and limited creativity in the range of constructed utterances. The comparison of these findings to those reported for another bilingual child raised in similar input conditions (Vihman, 1999) revealed a discrepancy between the two children, both in the level of mixing, and in the extent to which they relied on input patterns. Implications of these results for the relationship between mixing, learning strategies, and theoretical models of acquisition are discussed.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Ludovica Serratrice

Prof. Ludovica Serratrice

Reading University - Professor of multilingualism

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