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Discuss How Social And Cultural Contexts Influence Children's Learning And Use Of More Than One Language Or Variety.

2540 words - 10 pages

As English becomes more and more of an international language with the establishment of local varieties in different countries, bilingualism and multilingualism has an emergent social and cultural role in children being increasingly expected to master the art of having to speak and converse in more than one language.In this essay, I will begin by discussing how Julian Roux has acquired two languages under the cultural influence of his mother and how Helen, a monolingual child, speaks another variety of English so as to foster a social identity. Next, I will share how social and cultural contexts may influence children's choice of language, their code switching ability and their ability to make stylistic variation of their speech through three case studies. Then, I will discuss how children acquire language in a monolingual and bilingual environment. Lastly, I will look at how some cultural attitude influence children's acquisition and use of language.First, let's examine Julian Roux's conversation with his mother. Being brought up in an Afrikaans-speaking home and learning English as a second language, Julian is an example of a bilingual child speaking a variety of English, in which in this case, South African EnglishThrough Child's Dictated Speech (CDS), Julian's mother used a higher pitch, exaggerated intonation and slower delivery rate to develop his speech. Julian's pronunciation carried a South African accent, modeled after his mother. This can be observed from his pronunciation of words such as 'yes', 'tractor' and 'milk', which contain vowel sounds that are distinctive of the South African language, Julian's native language. Julian's choice of words is also influenced by his first language. The word "horsey", rather than "horse" is being used.In terms of syntax, there appears to be several over-generalization in some plural nouns such as 'sheeps', 'grasses', and 'hays' in his speech. Hence, in order to help Julian improve his syntax, motherese speech style was used to help bridge the gap between Julian's competence and his performance. (Chomsky,1965). Being an attentive and patient caregiver, Julian's mother corrected his mistakes through modeling the proper pronunciation, filling in the gaps of incomplete or poorly structured sentences and repeating his words but in a reformulated syntax, instead of using criticism or silence. An example of this can be seen when Julian said "Goats eat grasses", with his mother reformulating the sentence to "Goats eat grass". Throughout the whole conversation, strategies like using prompts, turn-taking and shared focus of attention were used to help Julian in his language acquisition. Positive reinforcement by acknowledging the child can be seen when she said "A milk, yes". (AC5, Band 4; Bancroft,2002; Mayor,2002).Through these positive and useful strategies, Julian was able progress from the omission of the primary verb in his speech to incorporating them as seen in "What they doing?" to "He's taking...

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