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Bilingualism and conversational understanding in young children

By M. Siegal, L. Iozzi and L. Surian

Abstract

The purpose of the two experiments reported here was to investigate whether bilingualism confers an advantage on children’s conversational understanding. A total of 163 children aged 3 to 6 years were given a Conversational Violations Test to determine their ability to identify responses to questions as violations of Gricean maxims of conversation (to be informative and avoid redundancy, speak the truth, and be relevant and polite). Though comparatively delayed in their L2 vocabulary, children who were bilingual in Italian and Slovenian (with Slovenian as the dominant language) generally outperformed those who were either monolingual in Italian or Slovenian. We suggest that bilingualism can be accompanied by an enhanced ability to appreciate effective communicative responses

Publisher: Elsevier Science
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:7929

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