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Article: Assessing language dominance in bilingual acquisition: a case for mean length utterance differentials

TitleAssessing language dominance in bilingual acquisition: a case for mean length utterance differentials
Authors
KeywordsLinguistics
Issue Date2006
PublisherLawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.leaonline.com/loi/laq
Citation
Language Assessment Quarterly, 2006, v. 3 n. 2, p. 97-116 How to Cite?
AbstractThe notion of language dominance is often defined in terms of proficiency. We distinguish dominance, as a property of the bilingual mind and a concept of language knowledge, from proficiency, as a concept of language use. We discuss ways in which language dominance may be assessed, with a focus on measures of mean length of utterance (MLU). Comparison of MLU in the child's 2 languages is subject to questions of comparability across languages. Using the Hong Kong Bilingual corpus of Cantonese–English children's development, we show how MLU differentials can be a viable measure of dominance that captures asymmetrical development where there is an imbalance between the child's 2 languages. The directionality of syntactic transfer goes primarily from the language with higher MLU value to the language with lower MLU value, and the MLU differential matches the pervasiveness of transfer effects, as in the case of null objects discussed here: The greater the differential, the more frequent the occurrence of null objects. Cantonese-dominant children with a larger MLU differential use null objects more frequently than those with a lower MLU differential. In our case studies, MLU differentials also matched with language preferences and silent periods but did not predict the directionality of code-mixing.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/57395
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 0.976
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 1.065

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorYip, Ven_HK
dc.contributor.authorMatthews, Sen_HK
dc.date.accessioned2010-04-12T01:35:15Z-
dc.date.available2010-04-12T01:35:15Z-
dc.date.issued2006en_HK
dc.identifier.citationLanguage Assessment Quarterly, 2006, v. 3 n. 2, p. 97-116en_HK
dc.identifier.issn1543-4303en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/57395-
dc.description.abstractThe notion of language dominance is often defined in terms of proficiency. We distinguish dominance, as a property of the bilingual mind and a concept of language knowledge, from proficiency, as a concept of language use. We discuss ways in which language dominance may be assessed, with a focus on measures of mean length of utterance (MLU). Comparison of MLU in the child's 2 languages is subject to questions of comparability across languages. Using the Hong Kong Bilingual corpus of Cantonese–English children's development, we show how MLU differentials can be a viable measure of dominance that captures asymmetrical development where there is an imbalance between the child's 2 languages. The directionality of syntactic transfer goes primarily from the language with higher MLU value to the language with lower MLU value, and the MLU differential matches the pervasiveness of transfer effects, as in the case of null objects discussed here: The greater the differential, the more frequent the occurrence of null objects. Cantonese-dominant children with a larger MLU differential use null objects more frequently than those with a lower MLU differential. In our case studies, MLU differentials also matched with language preferences and silent periods but did not predict the directionality of code-mixing.en_HK
dc.languageengen_HK
dc.publisherLawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.leaonline.com/loi/laqen_HK
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsLanguage Assessment Quarterly. Copyright © Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.en_HK
dc.rightsThe article is accepted for publication in Language Assessment Quarterly. Readers must contact LEA for permission to reprint or use the material in any form.en_HK
dc.subjectLinguisticsen_HK
dc.titleAssessing language dominance in bilingual acquisition: a case for mean length utterance differentialsen_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.openurlhttp://library.hku.hk:4550/resserv?sid=HKU:IR&issn=1543-4303&volume=3&issue=2&spage=97&epage=116&date=2006&atitle=Assessing+language+dominance+in+bilingual+acquisition:+a+case+for+mean+length+utterance+differentialsen_HK
dc.identifier.emailMatthews, S: matthews@hkucc.hku.hken_HK
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_versionen_HK
dc.identifier.doi10.1207/s15434311laq0302_2en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros124794-

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