Collocational knowledge in children: a comparison of English-speaking monolingual children, and children acquiring English as an Additional Language

Riches, Nick, Letts, Carolyn, Awad, Hadeel, Ramsey, Rachel and Dabrowska, Ewa (2021) Collocational knowledge in children: a comparison of English-speaking monolingual children, and children acquiring English as an Additional Language. Journal of Child Language. pp. 1-16. ISSN 0305-0009 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000921000490

Abstract

Collocations, e.g., apples and pears, hard worker, constitute an important avenue of linguistic enquiry straddling both grammar and the lexicon. They are sensitive to language experience, with adult L2 learners and children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) exhibiting poor collocational knowledge. The current study piloted a novel collocational assessment with children (mean age 6;3, 40 monolingual, 32 EAL). It investigated (1) the feasibility of a collocational assessment at this age, (2) whether collocational knowledge is associated with other language domains (receptive grammar and vocabulary), and (3) whether collocational knowledge is more affected than other domains. The assessment demonstrated good psychometric properties and was highly correlated with performance in other domains, indicating shared psycholinguistic mechanisms. Unlike adult counterparts, the EAL children performed equally poorly across domains. Given the role played by collocations in vocabulary development and reading, a focus on this domain may be beneficial for EAL children.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Many thanks to a Faculty Research Fund grant from the Newcastle University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, which funded this study, and to the schools parents and children who participated. We would also like to thank the two reviewers for their valuable comments.
Uncontrolled Keywords: English as an additional language, collocations, syntax
Subjects: Q100 Linguistics
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2021 08:02
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2021 08:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/47461

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