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The Acquisition of Heritage Languages

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Academic Paper


Title: The Role of Language Skills in Learning to Read: The Case of Bilingualism in French Overseas Departments
Author: Isabelle Negro
Institution: Université de Nice
Author: Sophie Genelot
Institution: Université de Bourgogne
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: French
Creole French, Seselwa
Abstract: This study aims to explain how the practice of two languages (French and Creole) in French overseas departments affects the first educational competencies acquired by children. The students’ performance in both languages was investigated at the beginning of kindergarten, and their reading capacities were measured at the end of Grade 1. The data analysis shows that the practice of Creole has no negative impact on success at reading in French. Furthermore, it appears that the students who performed the best in reading were those who were either more competent in French than in Creole, or those who were equally competent in both languages, according to their assessed reading competence. Thus, also discussed is the necessity of early exposure to a language's written code and the contribution that bilingualism makes to learning processes of reading.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 33, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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