Constructively combining languages

Antje Endesfelder Quick, Elena Lieven, Ad Backus, Michael Tomasello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Language development in bilingual children is often related to differing levels of proficiency. Objective measurements of bilingual development include for example mean length of utterance (MLU). MLU is almost always calculated for each language context (including both monolingual and code-mixed utterances). In the current study, we analyzed the MLUs of three German-English bilingual children, aged 2;3–3;11 separately for the monolingual and code-mixed utterances. Our results showed that language preference was reflected in MLU values: the more children spoke in one language the higher the MLU was in that language. However, it was the mixed utterances that had the highest MLU for all three children. We support the results with a construction type analysis and suggest a potential usage-based explanation for these results based on individual differences in each child’s developmental inventory of words and constructions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-409
Number of pages17
JournalLinguistic Approaches to Bilingualism
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

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language
Mean Length of Utterance
Language
Values
Utterance
Bilingual children

Cite this

Quick, A. E., Lieven, E., Backus, A., & Tomasello, M. (2018). Constructively combining languages. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 8(3), 393-409. https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.17008.qui
Quick, Antje Endesfelder ; Lieven, Elena ; Backus, Ad ; Tomasello, Michael. / Constructively combining languages. In: Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. 2018 ; Vol. 8, No. 3. pp. 393-409.
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Quick, AE, Lieven, E, Backus, A & Tomasello, M 2018, 'Constructively combining languages' Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 393-409. https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.17008.qui

Constructively combining languages. / Quick, Antje Endesfelder; Lieven, Elena; Backus, Ad; Tomasello, Michael.

In: Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Vol. 8, No. 3, 04.06.2018, p. 393-409.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Backus, Ad

AU - Tomasello, Michael

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AB - Language development in bilingual children is often related to differing levels of proficiency. Objective measurements of bilingual development include for example mean length of utterance (MLU). MLU is almost always calculated for each language context (including both monolingual and code-mixed utterances). In the current study, we analyzed the MLUs of three German-English bilingual children, aged 2;3–3;11 separately for the monolingual and code-mixed utterances. Our results showed that language preference was reflected in MLU values: the more children spoke in one language the higher the MLU was in that language. However, it was the mixed utterances that had the highest MLU for all three children. We support the results with a construction type analysis and suggest a potential usage-based explanation for these results based on individual differences in each child’s developmental inventory of words and constructions.

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Quick AE, Lieven E, Backus A, Tomasello M. Constructively combining languages. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. 2018 Jun 4;8(3):393-409. https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.17008.qui