ERIC Number: ED143241
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Apr
Reference Count: 0
A Theoretic Ordering of Semantic Categories in English, Spanish, and Navajo.
Young, Rodney W.
Continued interest in second language acquisition as a reflection of first language acquisition may be due to increasing evidence of universals in child language acquisition. Some research has indicated that second language acquisition patterns do not match first language acquisition patterns. Rather than arguing that second language acquisition is somehow independent of the first language, which would involve positing separate cognitive phenomena for first and second language acquisition, it may be more productive to examine first and second language items in terms of a subtle interaction with each other. The ordering-theoretic method, when applied to the bilingual child, can reveal whether there is any interaction between the first and second language. First grade bilingual students (Spanish-English and Navajo-English) were tested according to this technique. The subjects heard 30 sentences involving 10 semantic categories, specifically, concepts of numeric comparison, and were asked to judge whether accompanying illustrations matched the sentence. Findings include: (1) there is no clear-cut distinction between the bilingual child's two languages even in a single domain, and (2) some pairs of semantic categories do not reveal a causal relationship. The bilingual pattern of an ordering-theoretic hierarchy seems to demonstrate that the notion of linguistic dominance is not limited to broad domains, and suggests a differential first and second language relationship. (AM)
Descriptors: Bilingual Students, Bilingualism, Child Language, English, Grammar, Language Acquisition, Language Research, Language Universals, Linguistic Theory, Navajo, Psycholinguistics, Second Language Learning, Semantics, Spanish
Dr. Rodney W. Young, Director, Testing Division, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131 ($1.90)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Southwest Areal Linguistic and Language Workshop (California State University, Long Beach, California, April 14-16, 1977)