The comprehension and production of later developing language constructions by Afrikaans-, English- and isiXhosa-speaking Grade 1 learners

Nel, Joanine Hester (2015-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigated the comprehension and production of articles, quantifiers, binding relations and passive constructions as later developing constructions (LDCs) by 27 Grade (Gr) 1 monolingual Afrikaans-speaking learners with Afrikaans as language of learning and teaching (LOLT), 31 bilingual isiXhosa-speaking learners with English as LOLT and 31 monolingual isiXhosa-speaking learners with isiXhosa as LOLT in three non-fee-paying schools, each in a different low socio-economic status area, in the Stellenbosch area of the Western Cape Province in South Africa. The overarching aim of this study was to determine which LDCs these learners are capable of comprehending and producing at the start of Gr 1 and what progress they make in terms of these LDCs during their Gr 1 year. The English and isiXhosa LOLT groups were then compared on how they fared on the LDCs in their respective LOLTs in order to ascertain whether the English language proficiency of the English group is at such a level at the start of Gr 1 that they can, without disadvantage, undergo schooling successfully in English. Data were collected on articles, binding relations, quantifiers and passive constructions by using the informal language assessment instrument, the Receptive and Expressive Activities for Language Therapy (Southwood & Van Dulm 2012a), which makes use of picture selection- and pointing tasks for assessment of comprehension and sentence completion, picture description- and question answering tasks for assessment of production. The results showed that for the Afrikaans and English groups all four LDCs are indeed later developing and are only mastered after the end of Gr 1. For the isiXhosa group, quantifiers and passive production are mastered by the end of Gr 1. In terms of the language-in-education and teaching policy, the results show that the time allocated to listening to and producing language in Gr 1 is sufficient for children whose first language is also their LOLT, whereas it is not sufficient in the case of English additional language learners. The latter group made significant progress in all LDCs assessed, but still performed worse than their isiXhosa-speaking peers, for whom there was a match between first language and LOLT. The implication of the results are that (i) the Foundation Phase school curriculum should be refined so as to consider the needs of all Gr 1 learners, as learners enter Gr 1 with different language skills and different levels of preparation for the tasks which lie before them, (ii) teachers should be assisted to foster the development of language skills in additional language learners, and (iii) the institution of a universal Gr R year, which is free to those who cannot afford school fees, should be considered a necessity. Without ensuring that all children enter Gr 1 with an adequate language foundation on which literacy development can build, historical inequalities still present in South Africa will likely be perpetuated rather than systematically removed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die begrip en produksie van lidwoorde, kwantifiseerders, bindingsverhoudings en passiefkonstruksies as later-ontwikkelende konstruksies (LOKs) deur Graad 1 (Gr 1)-leerders. Die deelnemers was 27 eentalige Afrikaanssprekendes met Afrikaans as taal van leer en onderrig (TLO), 31 tweetalige isiXhosa-sprekendes met Engels as TLO en 31 eentalige isiXhosa-sprekendes met isiXhosa as TLO, in drie nie-skoolfondsbetalende skole, elk in 'n ander area met lae sosio-ekonomiese status in die Stellenbosch-omgewing in die Wes-Kaap Provinsie van Suid-Afrika. Die oorkoepelende doel van hierdie studie was om te bepaal watter LOKs hierdie leerders in staat is om te verstaan en te produseer aan die begin van Gr 1 en watter vordering hulle in terme van hierdie LOKs maak tydens hul Gr 1-jaar. Die Engelse en isiXhosa TLO-groepe is vergelyk in terme van hoe hulle gevaar het op die LOKs in hul onderskeie TLOs, ten einde vas te stel of die Engels-taalvaardighede van die Engelse TLO-groep op so 'n vlak aan die begin van Gr 1 is dat hulle sonder benadeling hul skoolopleiding suksesvol in Engels kan ontvang. Data is ingesamel oor lidwoorde, bindingsverhoudings, kwantifiseerders en passiefkonstruksies met die informele taalassesseringsinstrument, die Reseptiewe en Ekspressiewe Aktiwiteite vir Later-ontwikkelende Taalvaardighede (Southwood & Van Dulm 2012a), wat gebruik maak van prentseleksietake vir die assessering van taalbegrip en van sinsvoltooiings-, prentbeskrywings- en vraagbeantwoordingstake vir die assessering van taalproduksie. Die resultate het aangetoon dat al vier LOKs wel later ontwikkelend is vir die Afrikaanse en Engelse TLO-groepe en slegs bemeester word ná die einde van Gr 1. Vir die isiXhosa-groep is kwantifiseerders en passiefproduksie teen die einde van Gr 1 bemeester. Gegee die taal-in-onderwys- en onderrigbeleid toon die resultate dat die tyd wat toegeken is aan die ontwikkeling van luister- en taalproduksievaardighede in Gr 1 voldoende is vir kinders wie se eerste taal ook hul TLO is, terwyl dit onvoldoende is in die geval van Engels Addisionele Taalleerders. Laasgenoemde groep het beduidende vordering gemaak oor hul Gr 1-jaar in alle LOKs, maar het steeds swakker gevaar as hul isiXhosa-sprekende eweknieë wie se eerste taal en TLO ooreenstem. Die implikasies van die resultate is (i) dat die grondslagfase-skoolkurrikulum verfyn behoort te word met inagname van alle Gr 1-leerders se taalbehoeftes, omdat leerders Gr 1 betree met verskillende taalvaardigheidsvlakke asook verskillende vlakke van voorbereiding vir die take wat voorlê in Gr 1, (ii) dat onderwysers gehelp moet word om die ontwikkeling van taalvaardighede vir Addisionele Taal-leerders te bevorder, en (iii) dat die instelling van 'n universele Gr R-jaar, gratis vir diegene wat nie skoolfonds kan bekostig nie, as noodsaaklik beskou behoort te word. As daar nie verseker word dat alle kinders Gr 1 betree met ‘n voldoende taalbasis waarop geletterdheidsontwikkeling kan bou nie, sal historiese ongelykhede, steeds teenwoordig in Suid-Afrika, waarskynlik eerder voortgesit as stelselmatig verwyder word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97144
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