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Assessing child bilingualism: Direct assessment of bilingual syntax amends caretaker report
- Assessing child bilingualism: Direct assessment of bilingual syntax amends caretaker report
- Lust, Barbara; Flynn, Suzanne; Blume, Maria; Park, Seong Won; Kang, Carissa; Yang, Sujin; Kim, Ah-Young
- Ewha Authors
- SCOPUS Author ID
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BILINGUALISM
- INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BILINGUALISM vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 153 - 172
- Child bilingualism; coordination; caretaker report; elicited imitation; assessment; Korean; English
- SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD
- SSCI; AHCI; SCOPUS
- Document Type
- Aims and objectives: In this paper we investigate measures for the evaluation of a child's bilingualism. Methodology: We compare a caretaker report on the estimated quantity and quality of a child's bilingualism to results from direct assessment of the bilingual child's production of complex sentences in Korean and English. We adopt an integrated methodology in which two case studies, closely matched on caretaker report and general background, are investigated directly through an elicited imitation task, for their knowledge of syntactic factors underlying development of coordinate sentence structure in both languages. Data and analysis: The participants are two four-year-old Korean-English bilingual children. We compare the caretaker report on the estimated quantity and quality of the children's bilingualism to results from the direct assessment of their production of comparable complex sentences in both languages. We adopt an integrated methodology in which the two case studies, closely matched on caretaker report and general background, are investigated directly through an elicited imitation task for their knowledge of syntactic factors underlying development of coordinate sentence structure in both languages. Findings: Direct assessment reveals significant differences between the two children in the quantity and quality of their bilingualism, in spite of commonalities in caretaker reports. Limitations: This study compared only two children and two languages, and focused on language production. Replication with a larger number of subjects, including variation in child age, and measurement through other tasks, for example, tests of language comprehension, are merited. Implications: Results are interpreted as motivating both the refinement of caretaker report questionnaires and the necessity for direct assessment of bilingual participants, and suggest the elicited imitation task as a valuable method for conducting such direct assessment.
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