Annotated multi-competence References

multi-competence main
SLA Topics  SLA Bibliography  Vivian Cook  

Mostly this has the abstracts from the articles; additions and notes by VC are in olive.

Istvan Kecskes, (1998), 'The state of L1 knowledge in foreign language learners', Word, 49, 3, 321-340

Abstract. This paper argues that people with more than one language have different knowledge of their L1s than do monolingual people, and this difference can mainly be due to the effect of subsequent languages on the development and use of the LI skills. In order to investigate the state of the L1 in foreign language learners a longitudinal experiment was conducted with native speakers of Hungarian studying English, French or Russian as a foreign language in different classroom settings. The L2 effect on the LI was analysed from three aspects: (I) structural well-formedness; (2) use of linguistic and visual memory; and (3) metaphorical density. This study will focus only on issues concerning structural well-formedness. The participants of the experiment were tested three times during a two year period. Findings demonstrated that intensive and successful foreign language learning can have a beneficial effect on the development and use of mother tongue skills.

VC's notes

  1. only use of subordination as measure

  2. 3 groups immersion (subjects in L2), specialised (7-8 L2 classes per week), and control (3-4 hours L2 per week). I.e. no real zero group.

  3. Principal findings
    ' intensive and successful foreign language learning can facilitate L1 development significantly'
    'written planning in L1 becomes sophisticated and develops more intensively under the influence of foreign language learning'

  4. Overall 'the findings of the experiment clearly demonstrate a qualitative increases in the mother tongue skills of the immersion and intensive classes in spite of the fact that they had fewer classes in Hungarian language and literature than the control class'.

ANETA PAVLENKO (1999), 'New approaches to concepts in bilingual memory', Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 209-230

In this paper, I argue that current approaches to modelling of concepts in bilingual memory privilege word representation at the expense of concept representation. I identify four problems with the study of concepts in bilingual memory: conflation of semantic and conceptual levels of representation, scarcity of methods targeting conceptual representation; assumption of the static nature of the conceptual store; and insufficient acknowledgment of linguistic and cultural specificity of concepts. Basing my arguments on recent developments in the fields of neurolinguistics, linguistics, psychology, linguistic anthropology, and second language acquisition, I suggest new approaches to the study of concepts in bilingualism, based on notions of concept comparability and concept encoding. Subsequently, I discuss various ways in which concepts could develop and interact with each other in bilingual memory and address possible individual, psycholinguistic, and sociolinguistic constraints on conceptual representation and interaction in bilingual memory.

Jessner, Ulrike (1999), 'Metalinguistic awareness in multilinguals', Language Awareness, 8, 3/4

Summary: The development of competence in two or more languages can result in higher levels of metalinguistic awareness. These facilitate the acquisition of language by exploiting the cognitive mechanisms underlying these processes of transfer and enhancement. In this paper, the role of metalinguistic awareness in multilinguals is discussed within the framework of a system-theoretic approach to multilingual proficiency as taken in the Dynamic Model of Multilingualism. Selective data from trilingual adults (bilingual Italian/German learners of English) on their use of certain problem-solving behaviour in think-aloud protocols during the process of academic writing are shown to provide evidence of certain processes taking place while performing in a third language. At the same time this study of metalinguistic thinking is used to point to applied perspectives of research on third language acquisition, going beyond second language research. It is argued that prior language knowledge should be reactivated in the language classroom and that consequently multilingual education should also focus on the similarities between languages in order to increase metalinguistic awareness in both teachers and students.

Jessner, U. (1997), ‘Towards a dynamic view of multilingualism’, in Putz, M. (ed.) Language Choices: Conditions, Constraints and Consequences, Benjamins, 17-30

Useful general background to the Dynamic Model of Multilingualism

Balcom, P. (1995), ARGUMENT STRUCTURE AND MULTICOMPETENCE, Linguistica Atlantica, 17, 1-17

Cook (1991, 1992) discussed the question of ultimate attainment in second language acquisition in terms of what he called ‘multicompetence’. He proposed that the internalised L2 grammars of very advanced (native-like) learners are different from those of monolingual native speakers, although their performance is similar, since the LI and L2 grammars may influence each other.

This article explores the acceptance and use of inappropriate passive morphology by very advanced francophone learners of English, comparing their linguistic performance (measured by a fill-in-the-blanks task) and linguistic intuitions (measured by a grammaticality judgement task) to those of native speakers of English with very little previous exposure to French.

The results supported Cook’s multicompetence hypothesis. The very advanced learners had performance which was indistinguishable from that of native speakers on the controlled production task. However, there were significant differences between the two groups in their acceptance of inappropriate passive morphology on the grammaticality judgement task, particularly with verbs having a Theme in subject position and describing a state or change of state.

Kecskes, I. & Papp, T. (2000), Foreign Language and Mother Tongue, Erlbaum

'The main argument of this book is that people with more than one language have different knowledge of their first language (L1) than do monolingual people, and this difference can mainly be due to the effects of subsequent languages on the development and use of L1. Skills …'

Chap2 evidence: Hungarian Ss studying English, French, or Russian either in immersion (36) specialised (35: 7-8 classes per week), control (33:2-3 hours per week), tested in L1 and L2 3 times over a two-year period

Meths: composition writing
Principal findings:
(Techniques: Bernstein type measure of subordination etc)
1. 'intensive and successful FL learning can facilitate L1 development significantly'
2. 'the differences between the restricted and the elaborated code can be explained by the ontogenesis and development of written speech'
3. 'written planning in L1 becomes sophisticated and develops more intensively under the influence of FL learning.'
'In our understanding the bilingual or multilingual Language Processing Device (LPD) consists of two or more Constantly Available Interacting Systems (CAIS) and has a Common Underlying Conceptual Base (CUCB)', p.38

ANNE CUTLER, JACQUES MEHLER, DENNIS NORRIS & JUAN SEOUl, The Monolingual Nature of Speech Segmentation by Bilinguals, Cognitive Psychology, 24, 381-410, 1992

Monolingual French speakers employ a syllable-based procedure in speech segmentation; monolingual English speakers use a stress-based segmentation procedure and do not use the syllable-based procedure. In the present study French— English bilinguals participated in segmentation experiments with English and French materials. Their results as a group did not simply mimic the performance of English monolinguals with English language materials and of French monolinguals with French language materials. Instead, the bilinguals formed two groups, defined by forced choice of a dominant language. Only the French-dominant group showed syllabic segmentation and only with French language materials. The English-dominant group showed no syllabic segmentation in either language.

IRA GAWLITZEK-MAIWALD and ROSEMARIE TRACY, Bilingual bootstrapping, Linguistics, 34, 901-926, 1996

Language mixing in young bilingual children is usually put down to language  fission or, on the assumption that they have available two linguistic systems, to insufficient pragmatic control and/or lack of code-switching constraints. It is rarely seen as a sign of what the child CAN do. In this paper we explore the linguistic knowledge that goes into the language mixing of young English/German bilinguals. It is shown that their language mixing helps them bridge not just lexical but also structural gaps. In particular, we suggest a connection between children’s language mixing and the types of syntactic bootstrapping discussed in monolingual acquisition, where the child can use his or her expertise in one domain to solve problems in another. In a general sense, then, our bootstrapping metaphor avoids the negative connotations often associated with terms like interference or transfer and underscores the resourcefulness of the bilingual child

GREGORY W. YELLAND, JACINTA POLLARD, and ANTHONY MERCURI, The metalinguistic benefits of limited contact with a second language, Applied Psycholinguistics 14, 1993, 423-444

This study examined whether the often-reported metalinguistic benefits of childhood bilingualism extend to children whose experience with a second language is considerably more limited, and if so. whether this metalinguistic advantage flows on to reading acquisition. Its purpose was to provide direct evidence of a causal role for metalinguistic awareness in reading acquisition. The study focused on the developing word awareness skills of two groups of preparatory and grade I children: one group was strictly monolingual in English; the other, the "marginal bilingual" group, consisted of English monolinguals who were participating in a second language program that provided 1 hour of Italian instruction each week. After only 6 months of instruction in Italian, the marginal bilingual children showed a significantly higher level word awareness than their monolingual counterparts. This advantage weakened across grade I, as both groups approached ceiling levels of performance. Nonetheless, the initial advantage flows through to the first major step in reading acquisition, with the grade 1 marginal bilinguals showing significantly greater word recognition skill than the monolinguals, thus strengthening the argument for a causal role in reading acquisition for word awareness.

Aneta Pavlenko, Second Language Learning by Adults: Testimonies of Bilingual Writers, Issues in Applied Linguistics, 1998, 3-19

The article focuses on the relationship between languages and selves in adult bicultural bilinguals who learned their second language (L2) post puberty and became writers and scholars in this language. Their autobiographic narratives are used to identify and examine subsequent stages of second language learning (SLL) and the authors’ current positioning. On the basis of this novel source of data an argument is presented for new metaphors of SLL, new approaches to SLL and for the existence—in some cases—of two stages of SLL: a stage of a stage of losses and a stage of gains, with specific sub-stages within.

Thomas Roeper, Universal Bilingualism On-line

Lexically-linked domains in language allow a speaker to formulate incompatible rules. How should they be represented theoretically? We argue that a speaker has a set of mini-grammars for different domains so that, in effect, every speaker is bilingual. It is argued that Tense or Agreement Checking, V2 for quotation, and resumptive pronouns, all lead to bilingual representations. In addition, this perspective on Theoretical Bilingualism suggest that optionality and stages in the acquisition of an initial grammar should also be characterised as a form of bilingualism.

Notes/ quotes etc

theoretical bilingualism= 'two properties exist in a language that are not stateable within a single grammar'

'every language, looked at closely, will involves some domains where "contradictory" choices are made and therefore a hidden bilingualism exists. In traditional terms, both options of a mutually exclusive parameter are chosen.'

Implications for developmental stages and optional rules

'a person has numerous grammars: every lexical class with rules that are incompatible with another class should constitute a separate grammar' ... 'two lexical sets constitute two grammars'

'different grammars can be localised (1) in lexical classes (2) by speech register'