ERIC Number: ED154606
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
Reference Count: 0
Later Development of Syntax in Bilingual and Monoglot Children. Final Report.
Bellin, Wynford; Natsopoulos, Dimitris
Investigations using English have shown that a number of linguistic constructions associated with reporting verbs, and verbs concerning plans, present comprehension difficulties to children over the age of five. The corresponding constructions in Greek involved ambiguity appreciation, and tests of monoglots and bilinguals indicated that a cognitive developmental stage is implicated in ambiguity appreciation. Striking contrasts between the results from Greek children, who did not appreciate ambiguity, and what would be expected on the basis of English studies forced an appeal to semantics in explaining comprehension difficulty. Testing a wide range of constructions with fewer reporting verbs demonstrated that semantic theories which invoked speakers' intentions could not provide a general explanation of comprehension difficulties. What seemed to be developing was a gradual mastery of the way reporting verbs gave meaning to, and took meaning from, the constructions in which they can stand. The fact that results from monoglots were language-particular made possible a test of bilingual children to evaluate theories about their development. Existing theories implied that results from bilinguals would be qualitatively different. There was no support for such predictions. What occurred was a greater frequency of the same misapprehensions about the meanings of reporting verbs that had been obtained with monoglots. (Author/CFM)
Descriptors: Ambiguity, Bilingualism, Child Language, Children, Cognitive Development, Comprehension, Contrastive Linguistics, English, Greek, Intellectual Development, Language Acquisition, Language Research, Language Tests, Learning Theories, Linguistic Competence, Monolingualism, Psycholinguistics, Semantics, Syntax, Verbs
British Lending Library, Boston SPA, Weatherby, West Yorkshire, England
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Social Science Research Council, London (England).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Reproduced from best copy available