LINGUIST List 15.3488

Mon Dec 13 2004

Diss: Lang Acquisition: French: 'Phonological Working..'

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        1.    Leif French, Phonological Working Memory : A Developmental Study of Quebec Fancophone Children Learning English



Message 1: Phonological Working Memory : A Developmental Study of Quebec Fancophone Children Learning English

Date: 12-Dec-2004
From: Leif French <lfrenchuqac.uquebec.ca>
Subject: Phonological Working Memory : A Developmental Study of Quebec Fancophone Children Learning English


Institution: Laval University 
 Program: Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Translation 
 Dissertation Status: Completed 
 Degree Date: 2003 
 
 Author: Leif M French
 
 Dissertation Title: Phonological Working Memory : A Developmental Study of
 Quebec Fancophone Children Learning English 
 
 Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                      Language Acquisition
                      Psycholinguistics
 
 Subject Language(s): English (ENG)
                      French (FRN)
 
 
 Dissertation Director(s):
 Kirsten Hummel
 Elisabet Service
 
 Dissertation Abstract:
 
 Research in cognitive psychology has shown a particularly strong association
 between phonological working memory, usually indexed by some version of a
 nonword repetition task, and both first language (L1) and second language (L2)
 vocabulary acquisition in children (e.g., Gathercole et al., 1991; Service,
 1992).  However, with the exception of Service (1992; Service & Kohonen, 1995),
 there has been little research on the role phonological memory plays in
 different aspects of children's L2 development. The present study investigated
 the developmental relation between phonological memory and L2 acquisition in
 grade 6 francophone children (n = 54; 11.2 years) enrolled in a 5-month
 intensive English program in Quebec's Saguenay Region. The main focus of the
 study was to analyze data collected on L2 skill (measures of receptive and
 productive vocabulary, listening comprehension, grammar) and phonological loop
 function (measures of Arabic nonword repetition accuracy) at two different
 points in time (month 1 and 5) in an attempt to examine whether contributions
 from phonological memory and L2 skill co-varied in children whose L2 proficiency
 advances from a near beginning level to that of a very functional level in a
 relatively short period of time. Partial cross-lagged correlations revealed that
 phonological memory skill appears to play a causal role in the subjects' L2
 development over time, providing preliminary evidence that, in children, the
 causal dynamic between phonological memory and L2 development is similar to that
 observed in L1 development and, in particular, L1 vocabulary development (e.g.,
 Gathercole et al., 1992). Partial Pearson correlational analyses revealed that
 phonological memory skill was also highly predictive of new L2 learning in those
 subjects with low rather than high levels of L2 proficiency, suggesting that
 contributions from phonological memory to L2 learning may become less important
 as familiarity with the L2 increases. How these findings relate to theoretical
 accounts explaining the interaction between phonological memory ability and L2
 learning are considered along with implications for classroom pedagogical
 practices and further L2 memory research.
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