Assessing Language Dominance in Bilingual Acquisition: A Case for Mean Length Utterance Differentials

  title={Assessing Language Dominance in Bilingual Acquisition: A Case for Mean Length Utterance Differentials},
  author={Virginia Yip and Stephen Matthews},
  journal={Language Assessment Quarterly},
  pages={116 - 97}
The notion of language dominance is often defined in terms of proficiency. We distinguish dominance, as a property of the bilingual mind and a concept of language knowledge, from proficiency, as a concept of language use. We discuss ways in which language dominance may be assessed, with a focus on measures of mean length of utterance (MLU). Comparison of MLU in the child's 2 languages is subject to questions of comparability across languages. Using the Hong Kong Bilingual corpus of Cantonese… 
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Language development in bilingual children is often related to differing levels of proficiency. Objective measurements of bilingual development include for example mean length of utterance (MLU). MLU
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Current Issues in Multilingual First Language Acquisition
  • S. Unsworth
  • Linguistics
    Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
  • 2013
Multilingual first language acquisition refers to the language development of children exposed to two or more languages from birth or shortly thereafter. Much of the research on this topic adopts a


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Research on early bilingual development has suggested that syntactic transfer in bilingual acquisition is dependent on patterns of dominance and properties of the dual input the child is exposed to.
Transfer in bilingual first language acquisition
Much research on bilingual first language acquisition has stressed the role of the dominant or preferred language when the two languages have some influence on one another. The present paper tries to
Utterance length and lexical diversity in Cantonese-speaking children with and without specific language impairment.
Discriminant analyses revealed that the combination of age, MLU, and D could be used to accurately differentiate children with SLI from both age-matched and language-matched children.
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We present a hypothesis for a specific kind of code-mixing in young bilingual children, during the development of their two first languages, one of which is considerably weaker than the other. Our
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This article considers methodological issues related to the study of children who are raised with two languages from birth. This area of study simultaneously belongs to the fields of child language
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    Journal of child language
  • 1998
The analysis of word order in the verb phrase shows that initial structural separation was followed by an extended period of non-target structures in German before the children eventually worked out which structures overlap and which structures differentiate the two languages.
Child Second Language Acquisition of Syntax.
Recent advances in linguistic theory within the principles and parameters framework have exerted considerable influence on the field of second language acquisition. SLA researchers working within
Language differentiation in early bilingual development.
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A First Language: The Early Stages
For many years, Roger Brown and his colleagues have studied the developing language of pre-school children--the language that ultimately will permit them to understand themselves and the world around
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