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Language choice and functional differentiation of languages in bilingual parent–child reading

  • Paul Vedder (a1), Hetty Kook (a2) and Pieter Muysken (a2)


Language choice and functional differentiation between Papiamento and Dutch were studied in bilingual parent-child reading sessions in Antillian migrant families; the subjects, who were living in the Netherlands, were to some extent bilingual in Papiamento and Dutch. Mothers were asked to read three picture books to their child: one in Dutch, one in Papiamento, and one without text. Code choice was related to the text and contents of the book, as well as to restrictions imposed by the language proficiency in both languages of the mothers and children. It was expected that Dutch would be used more for more demanding cognitive functions because of its association with school. However, these parents did not categorize rnetalinguistic activity and reasoning as school-related, although they did categorize counting as such and tended to use Dutch to count.


Corresponding author

Paul Vedder, Center for Intercultural Pedagogics, P.B. 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, Netherlands. email:


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Language choice and functional differentiation of languages in bilingual parent–child reading

  • Paul Vedder (a1), Hetty Kook (a2) and Pieter Muysken (a2)


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