First language development in a bilingual setting : the role of first language contact

Gultzow, Simone (2015-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Moving to a new country often involves exposing oneself to new languages and cultures. Many individuals who move to another country and acquire a new language are sometimes at risk of losing the language of their country of origin. Studies in first language (L1) loss aim to describe what happens in an individual’s L1 when he/she moves away or disconnects from its source as well as to explain which linguistic aspects change and why. The aim of this research paper is to investigate lexical proficiency in L1 German bilingual speakers residing in the Western Cape. Lexical data were elicited through a Verbal Fluency Task (VFT) and a Picture Naming Task (PNT). Particularly, the paper assesses the extent to which degree of German L1 contact influences lexical development, alongside other background factors (age of reduced L1 contact, length of residence in the L2, education level) and sociolinguistic factors (attitude towards the L1, language use and contact). Correlational analyses revealed that two types of contact factors were crucial for maintaining L1 lexical proficiency: 1) intense receptive input such as reading German books and other German visual media, and 2) exposure to German as a medium of instruction within an educational setting. Neither of these factors allow nor permit any code-switching or code-mixing and are considered to be a form of German monolingual input, thus cementing L1 knowledge and skills and proving to be beneficial for long-term language development and maintenance. Conclusions drawn from the results of the study are discussed in the final chapter and suggestions for future research are presented.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die verhuising na ‘n nuwe land sluit gewoonlik blootstelling van menself aan nuwe tale en kulture in. Baie individue wat na ‘n ander land verhuis en ‘n nuwe taal aanleer, loop soms die risiko om die taal van hulle land van herkoms, te verloor. Studies in eerste taal (L1) verlies het ten doel om te beskryf wat in ‘n individu se L1 gebeur wanneer hy of sy verhuis of wegbreek van die bron asook om te verduidelik watter linguistiese aspekte verander of aanpas en waarom. Die doel van hierdie navorsing is om leksikale bevoegdheid in L1 Duitse tweetalige sprekers in die Wes-Kaap, te ondersoek. Leksikale data is deur ‘n Verbale Vlotheid Taak (VFT) en ‘n Prentjie Benaaming Taak (PNT) versamel. Meer spesifiek, assesseer die navorsing die mate van die graad waartoe Duitse L1 kontak leksikale ontwikkeling beïnvloed tesame met ander agtergrondfaktore (ouderdom van verminderde L1 kontak, lengte van verblyf in die L2, onderrigvlak). Korrelatiewe analises dui daarop dat twee tipes kontakfaktore van uiterste belang was vir L1 leksikale bevoegdheid: 1) intense vatbare insette soos die lees van Duitse boeke en ander Duitse visuele media, en 2) blootsteling aan Duits as ‘n medium van instruksie in ‘n onderrigopset. Nie een van hierdie twee faktore laat enige kode-wisseling of kode-vermenging toe nie en is oorwegend ‘n vorm van Duitse eentalige tevoer, dus word L1-kennis en-vaardighede vasgelê en bewys dat dit voordelig is vir langtermyn taalontwikeling en instandhouding. Gevolgtrekkings wat van die resultate van die studie gemaak is, word in die finale hoofstuk bespreek en voorstelle vir toekomstige navorsing word aangedui.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97027
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