ERIC Number: EJ850478
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
The Language-Specific Nature of Grammatical Development: Evidence from Bilingual Language Learners
Marchman, Virginia A.; Martinez-Sussmann, Carmen; Dale, Philip S.
Developmental Science, v7 n2 p212-224 Apr 2004
The fact that early lexical and grammatical acquisition are strongly correlated has been cited as evidence against the view that the language faculty is composed of dissociable and autonomous modules (Bates & Goodman, 1997). However, previous studies have not yet eliminated the possibility that lexical-grammar associations may be attributable to language-general individual differences (e.g. children who are good at learning words are good at learning grammar). Parent report assessments of toddlers who are simultaneously learning English and Spanish (n = 113) allow an examination of the specificity of lexical-grammar relationships while holding child factors constant. Within-language vocabulary-grammar associations were stronger than cross-language relationships, even after controlling for age, proportion of language exposure, general language skill and reporter bias. Similar patterns were found based on naturalistic language samples (n = 22), ruling out a methodological artifact. These results are consistent with the view that grammar learning is specifically tied to lexical progress in a given language and provide further support for strong lexical-grammatical continuity early in acquisition.
Descriptors: Grammar, Language Skills, Bilingualism, Second Language Learning, Correlation, Individual Differences, Vocabulary Development, Toddlers, English, Spanish, Parent Attitudes, Language Research
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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