Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-5dd2w Total loading time: 0.502 Render date: 2022-05-25T01:19:01.388Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Individual differences in very young children's English acquisition in China: Internal and external factors*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 June 2015

HE SUN*
Affiliation:
University of Groningen (RUG), the Netherlands
RASMUS STEINKRAUSS
Affiliation:
University of Groningen (RUG), the Netherlands
JORGE TENDEIRO
Affiliation:
University of Groningen (RUG), the Netherlands
KEES DE BOT
Affiliation:
University of Groningen (RUG), the Netherlands
*
Address for correspondence: He Sun, Graduate School for the Humanities, Department of Applied Linguistics, University of Groningen, Rode Weeshuisstraat 12, 9712 ET Groningen, PO Box 716, 9700 AS Groningen, the Netherlandsh.sun@rug.nl

Abstract

This study assesses the impact of internal and external factors on very young EFL learners in an instructional setting. 71 child English learners in China (onset age: 2;0 - 5;6) were involved: their receptive vocabulary, productive vocabulary and receptive grammar were taken as outcome variables, and age of onset, short-term memory, nonverbal intelligence, English input quantity and quality, English use, and maternal English level were taken as predictive variables. Multiple regression analyses, verified by Bayes factor comparisons, revealed that the total amount of school input and home English media environment were significant predictors for all of three aspects of English proficiency, with each aspect having different additional significant predictors. Both internal factors (e.g., age of onset) and external factors (e.g., English input quantity) played an important role, but in contrast to similar studies (e.g., Paradis, 2011) focusing on a L2 naturalistic setting, external factors explained more variance of English proficiency measures.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

*

The authors are indebted to Sharon Unsworth and Linda Visser for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. The authors would also like to thank Yong Sun and Jinrong Wang for collecting data, Richard Morey for discussing Bayes factor analyses, and Linda Postma and Dylan Armstrong for proofreading the paper.

References

Alexiou, T. (2009). Young learners' cognitive skills and their role in foreign language vocabulary learning. In Nikolov, M. (Ed.), Early learning of modern foreign languages: Processes and outcomes (pp. 4661). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Asher, J. (1996). Learning another language through actions (5th ed.). Los Gatos, CA: Sky Oaks Productions.Google Scholar
Bishop, D. (2003). Test for reception of grammar (2nd ed.). London: Pearson Assessment.Google Scholar
Blom, E., Paradis, J., & Sorenson Duncan, T. (2010). The acquisition of 3SG-s by L2 children: Domain-general or domain-specific learning? Poster Presented at the Child Language Seminar, City University, London, UK.Google Scholar
Blom, E., & Paradis, J. (2014). Sources of individual differences in the acquisition of tense inflection by English second language learners with and without specific language impairment. Applied Psycholinguistics, First View, 124. doi:10.1017/S014271641300057X Google Scholar
Bohman, T. M., Bedore, L. M., Pena, E. D., Mendez-Perez, A., & Gillam, R. B. (2010). What you hear and what you say: Language performance in Spanish-English bilinguals. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13 (3), 325344. doi:10.1080/13670050903342019 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Brasileiro, I., Unsworth, S. & Pinto, M. Growing up bilingual. Retrieved from http://www.tweetaligopgroeien.org/author/dafne/ Google Scholar
Brownell, R. (2010). Expressive one-word picture vocabulary test. San Antonio: Pearson.Google Scholar
Bus, A. G., Verhallen, M. J. A. J., & de Jong, M. T. (2009). How onscreen storybooks contribute to early literacy. In Bus, A. G., & Neuman, S. B. (Eds.), Multimedia and literacy development: Improving achievement for young learners (pp. 153167). New York: Routledge Education: Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
Butler, Y. G. (2013). Parental factors and early English education as a foreign language: A case study in mainland china. Research Papers in Education. doi:10.1080/02671522.2013.776625.2013.Google Scholar
Carroll, J. B., & Sapon, S. (2002). Modern Language Aptitude Test: Manual 2002 Edition. N. Bethesda, MD: Second Language Testing, Inc. Google Scholar
Cenoz, J. (2003). The influence of age on the acquisition of English: General proficiency, attitudes and code-mixing. In García Mayo, M., & García Lecumberri, M. (Eds.), Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language (pp. 7793). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Chondrogianni, V., & Marinis, T. (2011). Differential effects of internal and external factors on the development of vocabulary, morphology and complex syntax in successive bilingual children. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 1 (3), 223248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cumming, G. (2012). Understanding the new statistics: Effect sizes, confidence intervals, and meta-analysis. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
De Houwer, A., & Bornstein, M. (2003). Balancing on the tightrope: Language use patterns in bilingual families with young children. Presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Bilingualism, Tempe, Arizona, April 30 to May 3.Google Scholar
Dunn, L., & Dunn, L. (2007). Peabody picture vocabulary test (4th ed.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google ScholarPubMed
French, L. M., & O'Brien, I. (2008). Phonological memory and children's second language grammar learning. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29 (3), 463487. doi:10.1017/S0142716408080211 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
García Mayo, M. P. (2003). Age, length of exposure and grammaticality judgments in the acquisition of English as a foreign language. In García Mayo, M. P., & García Lecumberri, M. L. (Eds.), Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language (pp. 94114). Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
García Mayo, M. P., & García Lecumberri, M. L. (Eds.). (2003). Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language: Theoretical issues and field work. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Genesee, F., & Hamayan, E. (1980). Individual differences in second language learning. Applied Psycholinguistics, 1 (01), 95110. doi:10.1017/S0142716400000758 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Golberg, H., Paradis, J., & Crago, M. (2008). Lexical acquisition over time in minority first language children learning English as a second language. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29 (1), 4165. doi:10.1017/S014271640808003X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gutierrez-Clellen, V. F., & Kreiter, J. (2003). Understanding child bilingual acquisition using parent and teacher reports. Applied Psycholinguistics, 24 (2), 267288. doi:10.1017/S0142716403000158 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harley, B. (1998). The outcomes of early and later language learning. In Med, M. (Ed.), Critical issues in early second language learning (pp. 2631). Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley.Google Scholar
Harley, B., & Hart, D. (1997). Language aptitude and second language proficiency in classroom learners of different starting ages. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19 (03), 379400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoff, E. (2006). How social contexts support and shape language development. Developmental Review, 26 (1), 5588. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2005.11.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hyltenstam, K., & Abrahamsson, N. (2003). Maturational constraints in SLA. In Doughty, C., & Long, M. (Eds.), The handbook of second language acquisition (Oxford: Blackwell. ed., pp. 540558). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Sokolov, J. L., & Snow, C. E. (1994). The changing role of negative evidence in theories of language development. In Gallaway, C. and Richards, B. J.. (Ed.), Input and interaction in language acquisition, (pp.3855). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jia, G., & Aaronson, D. (2003). A longitudinal study of Chinese children and adolescents learning English in the united states. Applied Psycholinguistics, 24 (1), 131161. doi:10.1017/S0142716403000079 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jia, G., & Fuse, A. (2007). Acquisition of English grammatical morphology by native mandarin-speaking children and adolescents: Age-related differences. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 50 (5), 12801299. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/090) CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kass, R. E., & Raftery, A. E. (1995). Bayes factors. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 90 (430), 773795. doi:10.1080/01621459.1995.10476572 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kaufman, A. S., & Kaufman, N. L. (1983). Kaufman assessment battery for children. Pearson.Google ScholarPubMed
Kersten, K., Rohde, A., Schelletter, C., Steinlen, A. (2010). Bilingual Preschools. Volume I: Learning and Development. Trier: WVT.Google Scholar
Masoura, E. V., & Gathercole, S. E. (1999). Phonological short-term memory and foreign language learning. International Journal of Psychology, 34 (5–6), 383388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Milton, J., & Alexiou, T. (2006). Language aptitude development in young learners. In Abello-Contesse, C., Chacón-Beltrán, R., López-Chiménez, M. D. & Torreblanca- López, M. M. (Eds.), Age in L2 acquisition and teaching (pp. 177192). Oxford: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China. (2001).Quanrizhi yiwu jiayu putong gaoji shongxue yingyu kecheng biaozhun [english curriculum standards for full-time compulsory education and senior secondary schools], Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press.U.S.C. Google Scholar
Montrul, S. (2008). Incomplete acquisition in bilingualism: Re-examining the age factor. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muñoz, C. (2006). The BAF project: Research on the effects of age on foreign language acquisition. In Abello-Contesse, C., Chacón-Beltrán, R., López-Jiménez, M. D. & Torreblancaa-López, M. M. (Eds.), Age in L2 acquisition and teaching (pp. 8192). Bern: Peter La.Google Scholar
Muñoz, C. (2008). Symmetries and asymmetries of age effects in naturalistic and instructed L2 learning. Applied Linguistics, 29 (4), 578596. doi:10.1093/applin/amm056 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muñoz, C. (2011). Input and long-term effects of starting age in foreign language learning. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 49 (2), 113133. doi:10.1515/iral.2011.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muñoz, C. (2014). Contrasting effects of starting age and input on the oral performance of foreign language learners. Applied Linguistics, 35 (4), 463482. doi:10.1093/applin/amu024 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nikolov, M., & Mihaljevíc Djigunovic, J. M. (2011). All shades of every color: An overview of early teaching and learning of foreign languages. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 95119. doi:10.1017/S0267190511000183 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ojima, S., Matsuba-Kurita, H., Nakamura, N., Hoshino, T., & Hagiwara, H. (2011). Age and amount of exposure to a foreign language during childhood: Behavioral and ERP data on the semantic comprehension of spoken English by Japanese children. Neuroscience Research, 70 (2), 197205. doi:10.1016/j.neures.2011.01.018 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Oller, D. K., & Eilers, R. E. (2002). Language and literacy in bilingual children. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Paradis, J. (2009). Oral language development in French and English and the role of home input factors. (Report for the Conseil scolaire centre-nord[north-central school board]). Edmonton, Alberta.Google Scholar
Paradis, J. (2011). Individual differences in child English second language acquisition: Comparing child-internal and child-external factors. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 1, 213237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paradis, J., Nicoladis, E., Crago, M., & Genesee, F. (2011). Bilingual children's acquisition of the past tense: A usage-based approach. Journal of Child Language, 38 (3), 554578. doi:10.1017/S0305000910000218 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Place, S., & Hoff, E. (2011). Properties of dual language exposure that influence 2-year-olds' bilingual proficiency. Child Development, 82 (6), 18341849. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01660.x CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Raven, J. C., Court, J. H., & Raven, J. (1995). Coloured progressive matrices manual. London: Lewis.Google Scholar
Refaeilzadeh, P., Tang, L., & Liu, H. (2009). Cross-validation. Encyclopedia of Database Systems, 532538.Google Scholar
Sawyer, M., & Ranta, L. (2002). Aptitude, individual differences, and instructional design. In Robinson, P. (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp. 319353). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Scheele, A. F., Leseman, P. P. M., & Mayo, A. Y. (2010). The home language environment of monolingual and bilingual children and their language proficiency. Applied Psycholinguistics, 31 (1), 117140. doi:10.1017/S0142716409990191 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Service, E. (1992). Phonology, working memory, and foreign-language learning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A-Human Experimental Psychology, 45 (1), 2150.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Skehan, P. (1986). Cluster analysis and the identification of learner types. In Cook, V. (Ed.), Experimental approaches to second language learning (pp. 8194). Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
Stevens, G. (2006). The age-length-onset problem in research on second language acquisition among immigrants. Language Learning, 56 (4), 671692. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2006.00392.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sun, H., de Bot, K., & Steinkrauss, R. (In press). A multiple case study on the effects of temperamental traits in Chinese preschoolers learning English. International Journal of Bilingualism. Advance online publication doi:http://ijb.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/06/04/1367006914534332.full.pdf?ijkey=1qHvUeTWzbaQoZn&keytype=ref.Google Scholar
Thorn, A. S. C., & Gathercole, S. E. (1999). Language-specific knowledge and short-term memory in bilingual and non-bilingual children. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A-Human Experimental Psychology, 52 (2), 303324. doi:10.1080/027249899391089 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Unsworth, S. (2005). Child L2, adult L2, child L1: Differences and similarities. A study on the acquisition of direct object scrambling in Dutch. (Unpublished Phd thesis). Utrecht University, the Netherlands.,Google Scholar
Unsworth, S., Hulk, A., & Marinis, T. (2011). Internal and external factors in child second language acquisition. Introduction to Spotlight Issue of Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 1, 207212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Unsworth, S., Persson, L., Prins, T., & de Bot, K. (2014). An investigation of factors affecting early foreign language learning in the Netherlands. Applied Linguistics,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Unsworth, S. (2013a). Assessing the role of current and CUMULATIVE exposure in simultaneous bilingual acquisition: The case of Dutch gender. Bilingualism-Language and Cognition, 16 (1), 86110. doi:10.1017/S1366728912000284 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Unsworth, S. (2013b). Current issues in multilingual first language acquisition. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 33, 2150. doi:10.1017/S0267190513000044 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vermeer, A. (2001). Breadth and depth of vocabulary in relation to L-1/L-2 acquisition and frequency of input. Applied Psycholinguistics, 22 (2), 217234. doi:10.1017/S0142716401002041 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wagner, R., Torgesen, J., & Rashotte, C. (1999). Comprehensive test of phonological processing. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.Google Scholar
Yin, P., & Fan, X. (2001). Estimating R2 shrinkage in multiple regression: A comparison of different analytical methods. The Journal of Experimental Education, 69 (2), 203224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
33
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Individual differences in very young children's English acquisition in China: Internal and external factors*
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Individual differences in very young children's English acquisition in China: Internal and external factors*
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Individual differences in very young children's English acquisition in China: Internal and external factors*
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *