ERIC Number: EJ1095060
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Children Increase Their Sensitivity to a Speaker's Nonlinguistic Cues Following a Communicative Breakdown
Yow, W. Quin; Markman, Ellen M.
Child Development, v87 n2 p385-394 Mar-Apr 2016
Bilingual children regularly face communicative challenges when speakers switch languages. To cope with such challenges, children may attempt to discern a speaker's communicative intent, thereby heightening their sensitivity to nonverbal communicative cues. Two studies examined whether such communication breakdowns increase sensitivity to nonverbal cues. English-speaking monolingual (n = 64) and bilingual (n = 54) 3- to 4-year-olds heard instructions in either English only or English mixed with a foreign language. Later, children played a hiding game that relied on nonverbal cues. Hearing a foreign language switch improved both monolingual and bilingual children's use of these cues. Moreover, bilinguals with more prior code-switching exposure outperformed those with less prior code-switching exposure. Children's short-term strategies to repair communication breakdowns may evolve into a more generalizable set of skills.
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Cues, Nonverbal Communication, Communication Problems, Code Switching (Language), Monolingualism, English, Preschool Children, Second Language Learning, Games, Task Analysis, Metalinguistics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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