Cross-linguistic Transfer Notes

Marian, V. & Kaushanskaya, M. (2007). Cross-linguistic transfer and borrowing in bilinguals. Applied Psycholinguisitcs, 28(2), 369-390.

-CONCLN: Cross-linguistic lang influenced by diff in lang environment, architecture of lang system (includes linguistic structure – semantic and syntactic), grammatical category (noun, verb), concreteness level (abstract/concrete for nouns, action/state/func for verbs)

-patterns may be for bilinguals whose L1 more proficient . could’t separate indivi contributions of proficiency, order of acquisition, specific lang. lang status, local production contexts (if interviewed by monolingual speakers, borrowings dec)

-question is whether results/patterns will be similar for bilin w/ different proficiency and age of acquisition, other produc contexts, lang that follow diff structural properties

-suggests 2 types of cross-linguistic interaxn at diff levels of cog processing. borrowing may be rooted in lexical access phenomena. transfer may be rooted in representational/conceptual phenom

-grammatical category and level of concretness appear constrain lang interaxn differently. grammatical more likely influence on conceptual rep.  level of concretenss more likely influence on lexical access. influence of control mechanisms

-interactive bilingual lang system

Durgunoglu, A. Y. (2002). Cross-linguistic transfer in literacy development and implications for language learners. Annals of Dyslexia, 52, 189-204.

(completed 11/22)

The author’s goal was to use the exisiting research on cross-linguistic transfer to help distinguish between English language learners who are struggling due to cognitive or learning problems and those who are struggling due to low linguistic proficiency. The author states that if the student has mastered a certain level of proficiency in skills that are found to transfer across languages but are struggling with those skills in the non-native language, then it is possibly due to low linguistic proficiency and not due to cognitive or learning problems. If the student has not attained a certain level of proficiency in the native language, they should be observed further. It may be that the student has low school or home support. However, if the student has had extensive support, it is likely that he or she has a learning or cognitive disability.

Some aspects of literacy transfer over to other languages while others do not. This provides evidence for a common representation for general knowledge as well as separate representation for language specific information. One of the aspects of literacy that was found to transfer is phonological awareness. Another is syntactic awareness, which is the ability to notice internal grammatical structure of sentences. Syntactic awareness affects decoding skills and reading comprehension — students are able to engage in metacognition and monitor whether they comprehend what they are reading. They are also better able to use the sentence context. Also, functional awareness transfers. Though decoding skills may have negative transfer, overall, it does have positive transfer. There is a positive correlation between word recognition skills and spelling. And it looks like ELLs and native speakers go through the same stages for word recognition and spelling development. However, for students who speak a non-alphabetic language, this transfer process does not occur, for obvious reasons. The use of formal definitions and decontextualized language , knowledge of stroy grammar and writing conventions, good meaning making strategies in comprehension are also aspects of literacy that transfer from one language to another.


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