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Bilingual children's long‐term outcomes in English as a second language: language environment factors shape individual differences in catching up with monolinguals SPECIAL ISSUE ARTICLE Bilingual...

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Bilingual children's long‐term outcomes in English as a second language: language environment factors shape individual differences in catching up with monolinguals
Bilingual children’s long-term outcomes in English as a second
language: language environment factors shape individual
differences in catching up with monolinguals
Johanne Paradis and Ruiting Jia
Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, Canada
Bilingual children experience more variation in their language environment than monolingual children and this impacts thei
ate of language development with respect to monolinguals. How long it takes for bilingual children learning English as a
second language (L2) to display similar abilities to monolingual age-peers has been estimated to be 4–6 years, but
conflicting findings suggest that even 6 years in school is not enough. Most studies on long-term L2 development have
focused on just one linguistic sub-domain, vocabulary, and have not included multiple individual difference factors. For the
present study, Chinese first language-English L2 children were given standardized measures of vocabulary, gramma
and global comprehension every year from 4 ½ to 6 ½ years of English in school (ages 8½ to 10½); language environment
factors were obtained through an extensive parent questionnaire. Children converged on monolingual norms differentially
according to the test, with the majority of children reaching monolingual levels of performance on the majority of tests by
5 ½ years of English exposure. Individual differences in outcomes were predicted by length of English exposure, mother’s
education, mother’s English fluency, child’s use of English in the home, richness/quality of the English input outside school
and age of a
ival in Canada. In sum, the timeframe for bilinguals to catch up to monolinguals depends on linguistic sub-
domain, task difficulty and on individual children’s language environment, making 4–6 years an approximate estimate only.
This study also shows that language environment factors shape not only early-stage but also late-stage bilingual
Research highlights
• One of very few longitudinal studies on the long-term
oral language development of bilingual children
learning English as a second language.
• The only study to date examining multiple individual
difference factors predicting variation in long-term
outcomes of English second language children across
multiple linguistic sub-domains.
• One of very few studies examining linguistic sub-
domains other than vocabulary in long-term out-
comes of English second language children.
• Unique findings include a complex answer to the
question of ‘When do English second language
children catch up with their monolingual peers?’
Research with monolingual children has shown that
variations in their language environment, e.g. in the
amount of input, quality of the input and the frequency
and complexity of linguistic structures, influence their rate
of language development (Am
idge, Kidd, Rowland &
Theakston, 2015; Fernald & Weisleder, 2011; Hart &
Risley, 1995; Hoff, 2006; Huttenlocher, Waterfall,
Address for co
espondence: Johanne Paradis, Department of Linguistics, 4-57 Assiniboia Hall, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E7,
Canada; e-mail: XXXXXXXXXX
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Developmental Science 2017; 20: e12433 DOI: XXXXXXXXXX/desc.12433
Vasilyeva, Vevea & Hedges, 2010; Lieven, XXXXXXXXXXA key
difference between bilingual and monolingual children is
that there are more potential sources of variation in thei
language environment because bilinguals would experi-
ence all the sources of variation that monolinguals would
in addition to the variation inherent to learning two
languages instead of just one (Paradis & Gr€uter, 2014).
Most evident is that bilingual children receive less input in
each of their languages, on average, than monolingual age
peers learning each language. Furthermore, the input in
each language to bilingual children is seldom equal,
elative amounts of input can change over time and
according to social and educational circumstances, and
the timing of input in each language can be staggered
ecause one might be learned later than another. Much
esearch has shown that bilingual children’s rate of
development is indeed sensitive to quantity and quality
of input as well as to the frequency and complexity of
linguistic structures; moreover, interactions emerge
etween these factors within and across the two languages
(V.M. Gathercole, 2007; V.M. Gathercole & Thomas,
2009; Hoff, Welsh, Place & Ribot, 2014; Paradis, 2010a;
Paradis, Nicoladis, Crago & Genesee, 2011b; Paradis,
Tremblay & Crago, 2014; Rispens & DeBree, 2015;
Smithson, Paradis & Nicoladis, 2014; Thomas, Williams,
Jones, Davies & Binks, XXXXXXXXXXOverall, research with
ilingual children can contribute important insights into
how variations in children’s language environment shape
their course of development.
The term bilingual can be applied to any child learning
two languages, but the timing and sociolinguistic context
of their language learning can be different and this, in
turn, can impact their language development and out-
comes in each language (V.M. Gathercole, 2007; V.M.
Gathercole & Thomas, 2009; Paradis, Genesee & Crago,
2011a). Bilingual children from newcomer (immigrant
and refugee) backgrounds typically speak a minority
language as their first language (L1), and learn the
societal language as their second language (L2), mainly
through preschool and school (these children are often
ed to as ‘ELLs’ – English language learners – in
Canada and the United States). The majority of research
on individual differences in bilingual development has
focused on the preschool and early elementary school
years and/or on simultaneous bilinguals who began to
learn both languages from birth or in the toddler years.
We know less about sources of individual differences in
the long-term outcomes of bilingual children learning
English as a second language (L2), and such research
would have both theoretical and applied relevance.
Input-driven accounts of language development, such
as Usage-Based theory, predict that language input and
environment factors would continue to influence
language development and use even at later stages. This
is because a central assumption of Usage-Based theory is
that linguistic systems – at the individual and the societal
level – are not static or uniform but instead are always
eing shaped to some extent, and by similar factors that
shape early development (Behrens, 2009; Bybee, 2010;
Ellis, 2008; Tomasello, XXXXXXXXXXTherefore, research exam-
ining the influence of language input and environment
factors on late-stage L2 acquisition would test this
Usage-Based theory prediction. Regarding applied rele-
vance, in contrast to popular beliefs about speedy rates
of English L2 development in newcomer children, even
after years of exposure to English in school these
children can still lag behind monolinguals (e.g. Cobo-
Lewis, Pearson, Eilers & Umbel, 2002; Paradis et al.,
2011a). Understanding how long it takes for bilingual
children to ‘catch up’ with their monolingual peers in the
L2 – if all of them do so and under what circumstances –
oad societal interest because newcomer children’s
proficiency in the L2 lays the foundation for academic
success and integration (Cummins, Mirza & Stille, 2012;
OECD, 2006; Saunders & O’Brien, XXXXXXXXXXFurthermore,
esearch examining long-term L2 outcomes across
different linguistic sub-domains and with sources of
individual differences could challenge a simplistic inter-
pretation of what ‘catching up’ means.
Accordingly, the goal of the present study is to
examine the English L2 development of bilingual chil-
dren in the upper elementary school years to understand
(1) whether they converge with monolingual norms fo
L2 abilities across different linguistic sub-domains/tasks
in this timeframe and (2) how language environment
factors shape their L2 development at this stage.
Individual differences in early English L2 development
Much recent research has focused on child-external,
language environment factors, as well as child-internal
factors, as sources of individual differences in bilingual
children’s early English L2 development. Not surpris-
ingly, virtually all studies have found that amount of
English input as measured by time in English preschool
school positively predicts higher English L2 abilities (e.g.
Blom, Paradis & Sorenson Duncan, 2012; Bohman,
Bedore, Pe~na, Mendez-Perez & Gillam, 2010; Chondro-
gianni & Marinis, 2011; Cobo-Lewis et al., 2002; Collins,
O’Connor, Su�arez-Orozco, Nieto-Casta~non & Topple-
erg, 2014; V.M. Gathercole, 2007; Paradis, 2011).
Higher family socioeconomic (SES) background and
greater richness of the L2 environment outside school
(e.g. frequency and diversity of reading, media use,
organized activities and playing with friends in the L2)
are input quality factors associated with stronger L2
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
2 of 15 Johanne Paradis and Ruiting Jia
abilities in the early stages of development (Bohman
et al., 2010; Collins et al., 2014; V.M. Gathercole, 2007;
Golberg, Paradis & Crago, 2008; Hammer, Komaroff,
Rodriguez, Lopez, Scarpino et al., 2012; Jia & Fuse,
2007; Cobo-Lewis et al., 2002; Paradis, XXXXXXXXXXWhen the
impact of English spoken at home is considered sepa-
ately, findings become more complex. Bohman et al.
(2010) and Hammer et al XXXXXXXXXXfound differences in the
impact of English input vs. output at home such that
child output – use of English – was more predictive than
the child hearing English at home. The impact of
languages spoken at home on bilingual children’s L2
development is also influenced by parental fluency in the
L2, which in turn is modulated by parental education
(Chondrogianni & Marinis, 2011; Hammer et al., 2012;
Hoff et al., 2014; Saunders & O’Brien, 2006; Winsler,
Burchinal, Tien, Peisner-Feinberg, Espinosa et al.,
2014). Low English fluency among parents with lowe
education levels could provide partial explanation fo
why English input at home is not always facilitative, and
why SES background has an influence on children’s L2
In conjunction with these environmental factors,
child-internal cognitive mechanisms like ve
al short-
term memory and non-ve
al analytic reasoning also
predict individual differences in bilingual children’s
English L2 abilities (Collins et al., 2014; Farnia & Geva,
2011; Paradis, XXXXXXXXXXBilingual children’s two languages
are also a resource for each other in development.
Studies have shown positive cross-language transfer fo
grammatical features, as well as cross-domain and cross-
language influence at the language–literacy interface
(Blom et al., 2012; Paradis, 2011; Pasquarella, Chen,
Lam, Luo & Ram�ırez, 2011; Ram�ırez, Chen & Pasquar-
ella, 2013; Zdorenko & Paradis, 2008).
Paradis XXXXXXXXXXis particularly relevant because a sub-
set of the participants from this study was followed
longitudinally in the present study. Paradis (2011)
examined language environment and child-internal pre-
dictors of 169 English L2 children’s vocabulary and
grammatical abilities; children had a mean of 20 months
of exposure to English in preschool/school and ranged in
age from 4;10 to 7;0. Regression modeling revealed that
child-internal factors, such as analytic reasoning (non-
al IQ), ve
al short-term memory (non-word repe-
tition), L1 typology and age, predicted more variance
than the environmental factors such as length of
exposure to English, richness of the English environment
and maternal education (a measure of SES background);
however, all of these factors were significant predictors of
children’s English abilities. One objective of following a
cohort of these children longitudinally was to ascertain
whether the proportion of variance in children’s lan-
Answered Same Day Jun 23, 2020


Anuja answered on Jun 24 2020
130 Votes
Bilingual children’s long-term outcomes in English as a second language
Executive Summary:
This paper primarily talks about how the learning of the language English is effected if English is a second language for the child, with him speaking a different language, which may or may not be his mother-tongue, at home. To confirm the fact that it takes a minimum of 4 &1/2- 6&1/2 years of English education for a child to cope up with their peer for whom English is their...

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