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Metasyntactic Awareness and Cross-linguistic influence. Cross-sectional study of school-aged French-Norwegian bilingual children Multilingual Awareness And Multilingual Practices

Abstract : Recent studies on second language acquisition and bi/multilingualism have shown evidence of cross-linguistic influence when assessing metalinguistic awareness (De Angelis et al., 2015). Particularly, syntactic transfers related to word order patterns between two languages have been well-documented (e.g. Foursha-Stevenson & Nicoladis, 2011). However, to date no research has investigated that link between French and Norwegian. This cross-sectional research aims to investigate the link between cross-linguistic influence in bilingualism (Blom et al., 2017) between French and Norwegian, and metasyntactic awareness in the Bilingual First Language Acquisition framework. First, French-Norwegian bilingual children in the 5th grade at the French school of Oslo (n=33) and French children living in France (n=30) judged French sentences in a silent reading grammatically judgement. Two specific Norwegian grammatical features were found to be potential sources of ungrammaticality: verb placement or use of preposition in prepositional verb. Then, Judgment strategies and corrections were collected in semi-structured interviews of some French-Norwegian bilingual children (n=14). Results obtained from silent reading grammatically judgement task show high scores and no significant differences between French-Norwegian bilingual and French monolingual groups for grammatical and ungrammatical verb-placement related sentences. By contrast, monolingual group outperformed significantly their bilingual peers when the ungrammaticality came from preposition use. Thus, it suggests the existence of syntactic cross-linguistic transfer only when prepositions are involved and not when regarding verb placement. Moreover, qualitative analysis of metalinguistic discourse suggests metasyntactic skills, cross-linguistic awareness through explicit comparison between both languages, cross-linguistic influence from Norwegian to French, and controlled activation/inhibition of languages. Findings contribute to our understanding of the link between cross-linguistic awareness and metasyntactic awareness in childhood bilingualism as well as of cross-linguistic transfer during reading comprehension task. REFERENCES BLOM E., CORNIPS L. & SCHAEFFER J., 2017, Cross-linguistic Influence in Bilingualism: In Honor of Aafke Hulk, Amsterdam, John Benjamins Publishing Company. DE ANGELIS G., JESSNER U. & KRESIC M., 2015, Crosslinguistic influence and crosslinguistic interaction in multilingual language learning, London, Bloomsbury Publishing. FOURSHA-STEVENSON C. & NICOLADIS E., 2011, "Early emergence of syntactic awareness and cross-linguistic influence in bilingual children’s judgments", International Journal of Bilingualism, Vol.15, no4, pp. 521-534.
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Sébastien Lucas. Metasyntactic Awareness and Cross-linguistic influence. Cross-sectional study of school-aged French-Norwegian bilingual children Multilingual Awareness And Multilingual Practices. Multilingual Awareness And Multilingual Practices MAMP18, MultiLingNet & Tallinn University, Nov 2018, Tallinn, Estonia. ⟨hal-02369212⟩

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