Speaker: Sharon Unsworth (Centre for Language Studies, Radboud University, the Netherlands)
Title: Quantifying input quality in bilingual language development
Abstract: An increasing body of research from the fields of psychology, linguistics and education has sought to address the extent to which experiential factors such as amount and type of exposure, language use and sociolinguistic context relate to bilingual children’s developing language skills (see Unsworth, 2016 for review). Previous research has established that bilingual children’s language development is related to the relative amount of input in that language. More specifically, a number of studies have shown that once exposure reaches a certain threshold, bilingual children perform similarly to monolingual peers (e.g., Cattani et al., 2014; Thordardottir, 2011, 2014). Comparatively little attention has been paid to input quality, even though this varies considerably between children and may impact on language development (e.g., Place & Hoff, 2015). In this talk, I will present an overview of some recent work exploring how variability in language experience predicts bilingual children's absolute and relative language proficiency in their two languages, with a particular focus on input quality. In doing so, I explore how different aspects of bilingual experience are related to each other as well as to measures of language proficiency and to what extent bilinguals and monolinguals differ in this regard.
Room 3.10/3.11, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD