Bilingualism and Metalinguistic Awareness in Young Children

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Bilingualism and Metalinguistic Awareness in Young Children
Matos-Torres, Jeisha Krystal
(Gleaton, Jeisha K)
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Subjects / Keywords:
Bilingual education ( jstor )
Bilingual schools ( jstor )
Boats ( jstor )
Boxes ( jstor )
Business executives ( jstor )
Experimentation ( jstor )
Homonyms ( jstor )
Metalinguistics ( jstor )
Schools ( jstor )
Synonyms ( jstor )
Bilingualism in children
Language awareness in children
Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Metalinguistic awareness is the ability to view language objectively as a set of representational symbols, such as the ability to rhyme. Bilingual children often perform better than monolingual children on metalinguistic ability. The current study examined whether type of language exposure affected bilingual children’s metalinguistic ability. Four groups of bilingual children (n=30) were formed based on whether they were exposed to only one or two languages at home and one or two languages at school. These groups were compared on several metalinguistic tasks. The bilingual children exposed to two languages at school performed better than those who were only exposed to one language at school. There was no effect of home language exposure. The results are discussed in terms of why school exposure may benefit metalinguistic awareness. ( en )
General Note:
Awarded Bachelor of Science; Graduated May 8, 2012 summa cum laude. Major: Psychology
General Note:
Advisor: M. Jeffrey Farrar
General Note:
College/School: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright Jeisha Matos-Torres. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.


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1 Does Increased Language Exposure Lead to Better Metalinguistic Awareness in Young Bilingual Children? Jeisha Matos Torres University of Florida


2 Abstract Metalinguistic awareness is the ability to view language objectively as a set of representational symbols, such as the ability to rhyme. Bilingual children often perform better than monolingual children on metalinguistic ability. The current study examined whether type of ability. Four groups of bilingual children (n=30) were formed based on whether they were exposed to only one or two languages at home and one or two languages at school. These groups were compared on several metalinguistic tasks. The bilingual children e xposed to two languages at school performed better than those who were only exposed to one language at school. There was no effect of home language exposure The results are discussed in terms of why school exposure may benefit metalinguistic awareness.


3 D oes Increased Language Exposure Lead to Better Metalinguistic Awareness in Young Bilingual Children? There is a large body of work comparing bilingual and monolingual children on a variety of language and cognitive tasks. In comparison to mon olingual children, existing literature shows bilingual children have been shown to have advantages in both executive functioning and theory of mind. On the other hand, they have been shown to be at a disadvantage when it comes to language development, inc luding vocabulary scores. One aspect of language that has received only limited attention in bilinguals is their metalinguistic awareness Metalinguistic awareness is defined as the ability to view language objectively as a set of representational symbols. An example of this would be that the same word can mean two things, such as bat (baseball bat and the flying bat). The purpose of the current study is to examine metalinguistic awareness in a bilingual population only and to exami n e whether their la nguage exposure is related to metalinguistic awareness and language ability. That is, bilingual children differ in terms of their relative prof i ciency in their two languages and their method of exposure to both languages. In regards to language exposure we compared c hildren who are exposed to two languages at either school, home, or both contexts. In order for the children to be considered bilingual, they must have been exposed to both English and Spanish for at least one year. We studied this topic to better determine whether increased language exposure to both languages led to better metalinguistic awareness and overall language ability in these young bilingual children. Of interest was whether language exposure in different contexts lead s to better metalinguistic awareness in young bilingual children


4 Language Exposure L anguage learning can occur in settings such as the home, in the community, daycare, and at school. In bilingual communities, children may have the opportunity to be exposed to two languages daily and become dual language learners. Some children acquire two languages from home exposure, and some children may acquire their languages from the exposure they receive at school and/or in the c ommunity. According to Haworth, Cullen, Simmo ns, Schimanski and Woodhead (2006) teaching language is a community effort. T eachers, peers, and cultural media all mediate in language development which leads to the belief that language development is a community process and community dependent. As chi ldren engage in these exchanges, they are unaware that they are developing cultural and linguistic concepts. Because the community is putting in a collaborative effort to teach language, it would be expected that these children would perf orm better at lan guage tasks. Pena and Halle (2011) illustrate the difficulties that dual language learners may encounter when in a classroom setting. When children are bilingual and are exposed to one language at home and one at school, their vocabulary may be biased an d distributed towards setting which can ultimately affect their scores on language tests. For example, at school, children may learn educational terms, such as experiment, in English, but they are less likely to know that word in Spanish because it is not a household term. Regarding setting specific language exposure, bilingual children may be at a disadvantage in learning vocabulary In regards to semantic tasks, Pena Bedore, and Rappazzo (2003) found that overall, children ages four to seven from bilin gual backgrounds scored higher on receptive items rather than the expressive vocabulary tests This is comparable to both predominantly English and point to the ex


5 verbalize the identity of an illustrated picture. At a macro level, all children scored similarly across language groups for all of the semantic tasks. Because of setting speci fic vocabulary and types of language exposure, it comes to no surprise that in using both vocabu lary and grammar measures, Hoff, Core, Parra, Place, Rumiche and Senor (2011) found that monolinguals developing language scores (vocabulary and grammar) were significantly larger than those of the bilingual s developing language scores. However no significant difference was found between the two groups on overall vocabulary size or vocabulary gain over time. One main point that Hoff et al. (2011) state in thei r results is that children exposed to two languages do not acquire each at the same rate as monolinguals. Thus, overall monolingual children perform better on measures of language development than bilingual preschoolers. Executive Functioning In cognitiv e tasks, however, research shows that bilingual children generally have an advantage over monolingual children. Studies show that bilingual children perform better on Executive functions (EF) skills involving inhibitory control. Inhibitory control is the ability to to manage or regulate a collection of basic cognitive and emotional processes. Poulin Dubois Blaye, Coutya, and Bialystok (2011) support the notion of a bilingual advantage and their results indicate that native bilinguals performed better than monolinguals on the shape Stroop tasks at an ability to cont rol impulses to act in a certain way. These findings are contrary to Martin Rhee and Bialystok (2008) which claim that monolinguals and bilinguals are comparable on the response latencies and accuracy scores in the Stroop picture naming task. On the othe r hand, the


6 a uthors note that bilinguals show an advantage on the Simon task which requires inhibition of attention to a specific cue Typically, a colored stimulus is presented either to the left or right side of the display and it is associated with a left or right key press. When the correct key press corresponds to the position of the display stimuli, the trial is congruent. Bilinguals have an advantage in this task because they are required to hold the two rules in mind for the mixed blocks of trials essential in presenting the Simon task, and anticipate switching between the rules on each trial. In addition to executive functioning, bilingual children may ha ve an advantage on theory of mind tasks. Theory of mind refers to the ability to understand that people can have different beliefs about the same situation, such as the location of objects. Bilingual children may have an advantage in theory of mind tasks because their exposure to two language increases their ability to think flexibly in a number of areas similar to the arguments regarding executive functioning Kovacs (2009) found that bilingual children showed an advantage in the theory of mind tasks. Sh e attributes their success to their well developed control functions that form when they are learning how to monitor and select between languages. Basically, growing up in a bilingual environment exposes the children diverse mental language switch situa tions. Metalinguistic Awareness The cognitive flexibility that appears in theory of mind and executive functioning may be particularly evident in their metalinguistic ability as well That is, because bilingual children are exposed to two languages they may be better able to manipulate the forms of language. Metalinguistic ability is the ability to recognize the arbitrariness of language and that language is a sum of representational symbols. Typical metalinguistic tasks include the ability to rhyme, as well as understand homonyms and synonyms. In monolingual children these skills have been


7 shown to develop during the preschool years at approximately the same time as theory of mind and executive functioning. For example, Doherty and Perner (1998) states that false belief an important aspect of theory of mind and synonym metalinguistic awareness emerge around the same age for monolingual children. False belief is an understanding that a state of affairs is a certain way and that others can think diffe rently. The study also claims that metalinguistic awareness develops at a younger age than other research finds, which is inconsistent with the views that it develops between five and eight years old. Doherty (2000) supplements his previous study by incl uding the homonym understanding task Doherty found that false belief highly correlates with synonym tasks. Furthermore, he says that false belief, homonym understanding, and synonym understanding should develop at the same time. He also found that homony m performance is superior than synonym performance for younger children. If metalinguistic awareness involves the ability to think flexibly about language then b ilingual children should perform well on metalinguistic tasks, such as understanding rhym ing and understand synonyms. Surprisingly, however, only a few studies have examined metalinguistic awareness in bilingual children. For instance, one form of m etalinguistic awareness is disambiguation Disambiguation is the process of associating a new word with a new object rather than a familiar one. Byers Heinlein and Werker (2009) found that trilingual children (specifically, 17 18 months old from different language backgrounds) showed no disambiguation while monolinguals showed a strong use of disambigu ation. The Byers Heinlein and Werker (2009) study tests the possibility that language experience contributes to the development of disambiguation. Children who are familiar with multiple languages are more likely to show no disambiguation because they re cognize that familiar objects can have several names.


8 Metalinguistic awareness advantages in bilinguals have only been reported at modest levels (Bialystock & Barac, 2012). Their study measured morphological rules of English, nonverbal executive tasks, a sentence judgment task incorporating manipulations in school age bilingual children Those children with better language proficiency in both of their languages did better on their metalinguistic measures. It is believed that it is not more bilingualism that helps these children progress in their metalinguistic development, but rather their level of language profi ci ency. Advantages in metalinguistic development depend on several factors such as the relationship both between languages as well as the langu age of education (Bialystock & Bara c, 2012). As children develop and get older, their representations of knowledge and control over their attention increases and aides in their ability to distinguish between different languages. Knowing two languages incr eases the knowledge of abstract linguistic structures, which may help children in their metalinguistic awareness. Thus, their linguistic proficiency in both languages and t heir proficiency m a y depend on the social contexts in which they are exposed to multiple languages. T he current study examined whether the contexts in which bilingual children were exposed to their two languages affected their metalinguistic performance. Of particular interest is whether children exposed to two language s in multiple setting s showed better metalinguistic performance than children exposed in only one setting. David and Wei (2008) claim that there is a significant correlation between languag e exposure and vocabulary size as we ll as cross linguistic synonyms in French English bilinguals. It is not known how metalinguistic awareness in bilingual children is related to contexts of language exposure. Therefore, this study investigates whether differences in language exposure leads to better metalinguistic awareness in young Spanish English bilingual preschool


9 children. semantic rhyming, and symbol substitution tasks. For monolinguals, synonym tasks have a great potential to show early metalinguistic awareness understanding (Doherty & Perner, 1998 ). There is virtually no research on these metalinguistic tasks in bilingual preschool children. We expect the res ults to indicate that children who are exposed to a combination of both English and Spanish in both home and school to have better metalinguistic awareness and language ability than children exposed to both languages only in one setting. Method Participants: 30 Spanish English bilingual normally developing children ages 3 and 4 years old were recruited from preschools in Miami, FL and Gainesville, FL. In order to be considered bilingual for this research, the children must interact with other b ilingual speakers and have been exposed to a dual language environment for at least one year. I nformed consent forms were distributed to the preschools. We distributed questionnaires to the parents that included questions to determine their preferred lan guage and the level of exposure that each child that each receives in each language. The questionnaire is shown in Appendix A. To facilitate recruitment we compensated the parents $10.00 per child for allowing them to participate in our study. Procedur e : We constructed the tasks both in Spanish and in English to be able to However, the language tests were administered in both languages, as described below. The researchers are all native Spanish speakers and are the ones who have translated the documents and tasks, and administer ed them to the children. Depending of attention when we administered the tasks, they were either tested in one or


10 two sessio ns; although each child received the same tasks in the same set order. To be able to accurately score the children, testing was done in pairs where one researcher ad ministers the tasks and the other researcher records the responses. Children were assessed on both language and metalinguistic ability as described below. In addition, as part of a larger study, children were also assessed on their theory of mind and execu tive functioning skills. These latter measures were not examined in the current study. Measures The current study is part of a larger study examining metalinguistic ability differences between bilingual children and monolingual children. In the current study we are interested in only in the language and metalinguistic measures including the Synonym J udgment task, the Semantic Rhyming task, the Symbol Substitution task, and the Homonym Selection task for the bilingual children only. These tasks are described below. Language Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test (EOWPVT). sive vocabulary is measured using the EOWPVT with the bilingual record form. The testing material includes 190 individual illustrations which begin at age 2 and progress in difficulty through age 14. Each child is prompted by the experimenter with the qu estion and the child is expected to respond. They are then prompted in Spanish in which they are expected to respond in Spanish. The experimenter discontinues prompting the child after 6 consecutive incorrect responses. If the child preferred language was English, they were prompted in English first and then Spanish. If their preferred language was Spanish, they were prompted in Spanish first and then English. By the end of the measure, all children had been prompted by b oth languages.


11 Receptive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test (ROWPVT). vocabulary is measured using the ROWPVT with the bilingual record form. The testing material includes 190 sets of illustrations which begin at age 2 and progres s in difficulty through age 14. The illustrations are in sets of four, for example a man, a tie, a boy, and a hat. The experimenter and the child should poin t to the illustration of the boy. The experimenter discontinues prompting the child after they respond incorrectly to 6 out of 8 consecutive series of illustrations. The first day of testing the ROWPVT was At the end of the second day, the ROWPVT was given in Complementation. Complementation is measured when the experimenter presents 5 descriptive drawings with accompanying sentences. For example, the experimenter tells the c hild Then the experimenter goes on to ask the comprehension question of, The complementation score prehension questions. The total complementation score could range from 0 5. This language measure was not utilized in the current study. Executive Functioning Happy/Sad Stroop like task. The child is first shown a happy face card and asked you Then they are shown a sad face card and asked After correctly identifying the cards, the experimenter proceeds to instruct the child: (showing the sad face card) then, (showing the happy face card)


12 The experimenter then goe s on to administer practice trials by holding up each card to ensure the child understands the instructions. After the child correctly identifies each card following the instructions the child is shown 16 cards in a fixed random order for a combined total of 16 trials where the child should respond according to the rules. After the 7 th correct responses according to the rules which could range from 0 16. Dimensional change card sort task. The experimenter presents two standing containers, one labeled with an illustration of a blue boat, and the other with a red rabbit. The experimenter then tells the child: lor game the blues go with Then the experimenter demonstrates with two sample cards, one blue rabbit and one red boat. After the child understands the rules, the experimenter asks the child to sort 5 cards in thei r respective places (a blue rabbit, a red boat, a blue boat, a red rabbit, and a blue rabbit). These first 5 cards are used as practice trials. The experimenter then tells the child that they are going to switch to the shape game with the following instru ctions: The children are then handed a red boat, a red rabbit, a blue rabbit, a blue boat, a red boat, and a blue rabbit to sort through. After each card is handed to the child, the experimenter asks to make sure that correct responses to the t wo red boats and the two blue rabbits in the shape game set. The total score could range from 0 6. Bear/dragon Simon says like task. The experimenter begins by asking the child to do the touch your eyes with your


13 subsequently describes the rules of the games t o the child by saying: This is nice bear ( stick out the bear ), when he talks to us, we will do what he tells us to do. This is naughty dragon ( stick out the dragon ), when he talks to us, we it. The experimenter should play the part of the characters and prompt the child with an appropriate voice signaling each animal. The child is then given practice trials with each character until they respond correctly to the bear at least once and resist the child completes the practice trials, they are given 10 alternating testing trials (5 bear trials, 5 dragon trials) where the child is reminded of the rules after the 5 th trial. The score could range from 0 1 0. Short term memory Digit span. The experimenter begins by instructing the child to repeat the same numbers that he/she says in the same order. For example, the experimenter says The experimenter should read of th e numbers at the rate of one per second. After the instructions are given, the child is given one sequence of two numbers to determine if they understand. Each trial consists of two sequences of numbers. After each trial one number is added to each sequ ence. The task discontinues when the child is unable to correctly repeat both sequences of numbers in any given trial. The score for this task could range from 0 6. Theory of Mind Unexpected content task. The child is presented with a closed crayon box and is asked: The experimenter then opens the box and reveals that


14 What is inside the After putting the block back in the box, the experimenter asks, The experimenter introduces an Ernie puppet and asks the child: ever looked inside the Then the experimenter asks the control question, The child receives a pass/fail score based on their responses to the two belief qu estion dependent on whether or not they answered the control questions correctly. Unexpected location task. The experimenter presents a cloth bag, a small box, and a Tweety puppet to the child and proceeds to tell the following story: Tweety is putting his toy car inside the box. Now he is going outside to play. ( Put Tweety out of sight ) Puppy is taking the toy car out of the box and putting it inside this box. Now Puppy is going home. The experimenter then brings Tw eety back and asks the child, After the child responds, the experimenter reveals to Tweety where the car is and then goes on to ask the child, When Tweety came back inside from playing, before I showed him the car, where did he think Then the child is asked two control questions, The child is scored on a pass/fail system to their response on the false belief question if they answer the two control questions correctly. Appearance Reality, object identity task. The experimenter introduces a sponge that is painted to look like a rock and ask the child, The


15 experimenter then allows the child to touch it and then asks The experimenter then asks, irst took it out and the child is scored pass/fail for this question. Then a bunny puppet is brought out and the experimenter says, The child is scored pass/fail for this last question. Then the child is asked Metalinguistic Awareness Synonym Judgment task. The experimenter begi ns by presenting 5 illustrative cards laid out, (a boat/ship, a jacket/coat, a gift/present, a cup/mug, and a rose/flower) to the child and asking them to point to the one that matches what they prompt. For example, the experimenter says, o the ship matching synonym. The process is then repeated with another set of 4 illustrative cards (a woman/lady, a bunny/rabbit, a couch/sofa, and a TV/television.) The child is then given 3 prac tice trials in which the experimenter proceeds with the following: This can be called either a ship or a boat. What would you like to call it? (Wait for an answer ) Now Kitty, you say the other name. (Kitty uses the same name as Is th at what he should have said? ( Pause for child to answer). (Kitty now Is that what she should have said? answer). This is continued for the other two modeling phase items, cup/mug and coat/jacket. In these two trials, the puppet also gave the wrong answer first but on the second try it goes on to say a


16 completely different word (e.g elephant and banana ) before finally producing the correct synonym. In the four test trials with no feedback given, the experimenter shows the child the picture of the couch/sofa, rabbit/bunny, woman/lady, or television/TV respectively. The experimenter asks After the child answers the experimenter goes on to say, say the other name. [Kitty responds.] Is that what she should have said? respond in the following fixed order, matching synonym, same word as child, different meaning, and for the last trial, matching synonym. Ea ch child is given a score ranging from 0 4. Homonym Selection task The homonym task begins by giving each participant a vocabulary check to ensure that they are familiar with the terms chosen. For this vocabulary check, the child is presented with 12 s heets, each depicting three illustrations with one of the 6 pairs of homonyms and 2 distracters. The children were asked, If they are unable to point to the correct item, they are told the right answer and then the experimenter prese nts the next sheet. The first six sheets showed the first six homonyms, and the last six sheets showed the other half of each pair in the same order. For the modeling phase, the child is shown a sheet with four illustrations on it, both items from a homo nym pair and two distracters. Next to the sheet, is a card illustrating one of the items of the homonym pair. The experimenter They should point to the flour. Then the ex Yes, look this is a flower and this is flour, but Look this flower and this flower are the same; we are looking for a different kind for the modeling phase. For the testing phase, the procedure for modeling phase is continued but


17 with no feedback for the following four item s: fingernail/tool nail, baseball bat/flying bat, son/sun, and pear/pair. Each child is given a score for the Homonym Selection task ranging from 0 4. Symbol Substitution task. The child is shown five sheets, one at a time, with one illustration on each sheet. The illustrations include an airplane, an apple, a fish, a tiger, and You know that this is called an airplane right? [C: Yes.] Can the airplane fly? [C: Ye s.] In this game, we are going to call it turtle. Can you say turtle for this picture? [C: Turtle.] What is this? [C: Can the turtle fly? How does the turtle fly? me script is applied to the remaining items with the following substitutions: eating the apple/shoe, the fish/car swimming, the tiger/shirt running, and seeing the clouds/stars during the day. Each item is scored and the scores for this task can range fro m 0 10. Rhyming task. The children are first asked if they know any words that rhyme. If they are examples, the experimenter mentions that day can rhyme with say, as well as play. After the child understands what a rhyme is, the experimenter gives the instructions: you 3 pictures and say a word fo r each picture. I want you to tell me which words rhyme or The experimenter then assists the child through two examples, tie/fly/jacket and desk/chair/fair. Following the examples, five trials are given ( dog/log/cat sock/shoe/lock, plane/bicycle/cane, ramp/lamp/sofa and truck/train/duck ). It is very important that the words are repeated twice. If the child does


18 not respond within 10 seconds, the words are repeated twice again. If the Total rhyming score could range from 0 6. Results For comparisons, we created four groups based on the language questionnaires that were were formed based on number of languages spoken at school and at home : 1 Both languages spoken at home and school (n= 6 ) ; 2. Both languages spoken at home, one language spoken at school (n= 7) ; 3. One language spoken at home, a different language spoken at school (n=5) ; 4. One language spoken at home, two languages spoken at school (n=12) There were no significant differences between the groups based on income, marital status, and parent one level of education. The primary question of interest is w hether increased language exposure leads to better metalinguistic awareness in young bilingual children. The means and standard deviations of all of the m easures are presented in Table 1 Comparisons between the groups were conducted on all measures usin g a series of 2 (home exposure: 1 vs. : 2) x 2 (school exposure: 1 vs. 2) AN C OVAS controlling for age Initially we formed a composite measure of metalinguistic awareness using a Z score to account for the variation in the number of questions across measu res Surprisingly, the amount of exposure in school language made a significant different in overall metalinguistic awareness while amount of exposure in home language did not F (1, 28) = 5.4 3 p < .05. That is, children who were exposed to multiple languages at school performed better than those exposed to multiple languages at home. There were no interaction effects. We further examined each metalinguistic awareness tasks separately using the 2 (school) x 2 (home) AN C OVAs S chool language only had a marginally significant effect on th e Synonym Judgment task ( F (1,28) = 3. 96 p =.058 ). These results are displayed in Table 3.


19 There was also a marginal effect of school in the Homonym Selection task ( F (1, 28) = 3.454 p <.10), which is display ed on Table 3. Additionally, there was also a marginal effect in the S ymbol Substitution task ( F (1, 28) =3.261 p <.10). There were no significant main effects of school language on the Semantic Rhyming task. Interestingly, none of the tasks showed significant main effects of home language or significant interaction effects. Thus, there was some evidence that children exposed to multiple languages at school performed better on overall metalinguistic ability. One possibility is the children who wer e exposed to two languages at school had better language skills. To test this, we compared the language ability of the four groups in the 2 x 2 ANCOVA. For the language tests, there was a marginal main effect for school for the Receptive total score ( F (1, 26)=4.24 p < .05 Children who were exposed to two languages at home had higher receptive scores than children exposed to only one language at home. There were no significant effects for Expressive total score. There were also no significant interaction effects. Discussion The main objective of this study was to determine whether or not level of language exposure influenced metalinguistic awareness and overall language ability. These results indicate that after controlling for age, not only do children who speak two languages at school versus one language have higher scores in the metalinguistic awareness measures, but that they have better overall language ability. These findings indicate that school language exposure has more of an effect on metalinguistic awareness and language abilities than home language. The study conducted by Doherty and Perner (1998 ) indicates that success in expressive synonym tasks may show an early sign of metalinguistic awareness in monolinguals. The results of the current study illustrate that the increase in early metalinguistic awareness may apply to bilinguals as well. The


20 Synonym Judgment task approached significance in bilinguals who spoke two languages at school. We find it interesting that o f the metalinguistic measures, three of four tasks only showed marginal effects at p <.10 for school language, yet the metalinguistic awareness composite was significant at p =.029. It may be that with a larger sample size the indiv idual metalinguistic measures wo uld be significant as well. Previous research (Bialystock & Barac, 2012) has indicate d that metalinguistic awareness in older bilinguals is only reported at a modest level. The results from the current study indicate a significant difference when comparin g students who only speak one language at school and those who speak two at schools. While all of the children in this study were bilingual, the level of exposure at school and its impact is clearly evident. Exposure to two languages at school has an effe ct on develo p ing metalinguistic awareness. Therefore, the question is why does language exposure in school facilitate metalinguistic awareness more than home exposure ? It may be because children learn better language skills with their teachers and with their fellow classmates in school than at home In school, language may be taught with more structure than at home, but then also reinforced with casual conversations. There was some support for this interpretation because there was a marginal effect of school on receptive language abilities. Bialystok and Barac (2012) also found that when level of language proficiency is matched, and the task places a high demand in executive function, that bilinguals have an advantage. Prior research has shown that w hen vocabulary language is equivalent, bilinguals are better able to use their attentional control on tasks to outperform monolinguals. In the current study, while we are only testing bilingual children, our data supports the claim that even children who are only exposed to their non dominant language at school along with their preferred language, perform better than those who are only exposed to


21 one language at school. Therefore, exposing children to a bilingual education or immersion program could incre ase not only their metalinguistic awareness but their attentional control on tasks. Limitations and Future Directions As with most research, there were some limitations to this study. Because we decided to divide the entire sample size into several gro ups to analyze our data, those individual groups were composed of a small number of participants. Having a larger overall sample of bilingual children could have given us the ability to have larger groups, which could have given us more power for statistic al analyses. Furthermore, another limitation of this study is that we had the and their language preference. This could potentially be seen as a limitation b ecause the parents may be unaware of their A nother potential limitation is that we did not counterbalance the order of the tasks. Unfortunately, because the study was done over the summer when many families go on vacation, some subjects were unable to complete the sess i ons. Because we administered the testing packet to the children in their dominant language and then administered the language tests (EOWPVT and ROWPVT) in their second language, the children were required to alternate between their two languages. When asked to say a word in Spanish, some children just put an accent to the English word they already knew. This raises the question of whether or not they recognize the differentiation of their two languages. A f uture study could test to see whether the children are able to make a distinction between their two languages. Conclusion


22 In conclusion, we examined whether increased language exposure in home and in school leads to better metalinguistic awareness and l anguage ability in young bilingual children. We found that regardless of home language, school language had a significant effect on performance on the metalinguistic awareness measures. Differing from what we expected, home language did not have an effect on either metalinguistic ability or language ability. These findings are in strong support of bilingual education and language immersion programs for children from monolingual households They give evidence that given the exposure of two languages at sc hool, children are better able to view language objectively and recognize the arbitrariness of language. Although all of these children were bilingual, the children who had more exposure at school seemed to be more comfortable with their two languages, wh ich was ultimately reflected in their scores.


23 References Bialystok, E., & Barac, R. (2012). Emerging bilingualism: Dissociating advantages for metalinguistic awareness and executive control. Cognition 122(1), 67 73. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.08.003 Byers Heinlein, K., & Werker, J. F. (2009). Monolingual, bilingual, trilingual: Infants' language experience influences the development of a word learning heuristic. Developmental Science 12(5), 815 823. doi:10.1111/j.1467 7687.2009.00902.x David, A., & Wei, L. (2008). Individual differences in the lexical development of French English bilingual children. International Journal Of Bilingual Education And Bilingualism, 11(5), 598 618. c awareness and false belief. Journal of Child Language, 27. Retrieved from https://dspace. 3/1/childrens understanding of homonymy.pdf Doherty, M, & Perner, J. (1998). Metalinguistic awareness and theory of mind: just two words for the same thing?. Cognitive Development, 13(3), Retrieved from Haworth, P., Cullen, J., Simmons, H., Schimanski, L., McGarva, P., & Woodhead, E. (2006). The role of a cquisition and learning in young children's bilingual development: A sociocultural interpretation. Inte rnational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 9 (3), 295 309. Retrieved from https://search ebscohost px?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2006 10012 001&site=ehost live Hoff, E, Core, C, Parra, M, Place, S, Rumiche, R, & Senor, M. (2011). Dual language


24 exposure and early bilingual development. Journal of Child Language doi:10.1017/S0305000910000759 Kovcs, (2 009). Early bilingualism enhances mechanisms of false belief reasoning. Developmental Science, 12(1), 48 54. doi:10.1111/j.1467 7687.2008.00742.x Martin Rhee, M., & Bialystok, E. (2008). The development of two types of inhibitory control in monolingual a nd bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 11 (1), 81 93. doi:10.1017/S1366728907003227 Pea E., Bedore, L. M., & Rappazzo, C. (2003). Comparison of Spanish, English, and bilingual children's performance across semantic tasks Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 34(1), 5 16. doi:10.1044/0161 1461(2003/001) Pea, E. D. and Halle, T. G. (2011), Assessing Preschool Dual Language Learners: Traveling a Multiforked Road. Child Development Perspectives 5: 28 32. doi: 10.1111/j.1750 8606.2010.00143.x Poulin Dubois, D., Blaye, A., Coutya, J., & Bialystok, E. (2011). The effects of bilingualism Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108 (3), 567 579. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2010.10 .009


25 Table 1 Means (Standard Deviations) of all measures Measures Language Exposure Composite Homonym Selection Task Synonym Judgment Task Symbol Substitution Task Semantic Rhyming Task ROWPVT EOWPVT Home One Lang School One Language(n= 5 ) 1.30(4.36 ) 2.40(1.52 ) 2.60(1.52 ) 4.00(4.06 ) 3.20(2.17 ) 67.50(19.5 ) 54.25(28.1 ) School Two Languages(n=12 ) 1.10(2.10 ) 3.50(1.00 ) 3.25(1.06 ) 7.92 ( 3.06 ) 2.45(1.30 ) 71.3(27.3 ) 47.9(18.5 ) Home Two Lang School One Language(n=7 ) 1.38(2.41 ) 3.29 (1.2 5) 2.43(.976 ) 4.57(3.41 ) 1.71(1.38 ) 55.6(12.7 ) 40.8(16.0 ) School Two Languages(n=6 ) .949(3.40 ) 3.67(.816 ) 3.33(.816 ) 5.50(4.32 ) 3.33(2.34 ) 90.0(19.7 ) 60.7(22.1 ) Note: Composite in Z standardized metric


26 Table 2 Analysis of Cov ariance of Metalinguistic Awareness Composite Controlling for Age Source SS df MS F p Age 52.413 1 52.413 7.847 .010 School Language 36.245 1 36.245 5.427 .029 Home Language .071 1 .071 .011 .919 School x Home 5.266 1 5.266 .788 .383 Note: Composite in Z standardized metric


27 Table 3 Analysis of Cov ariance of Each Metalinguistic Awareness Task Source SS df MS F p Synonym Task Age 4.75 1 4.75 4.613 .042 School Language 4.077 1 4.077 3.958 .058 Home Language .001 1 .001 .001 .973 School x Home .140 1 .140 .136 .716 Homonym Task Age 6.190 1 6.190 5.780 .024 School Language 3.699 1 3.699 3.454 .075 Home Language 2.353 1 2.353 2.197 .151 School x Home 2.793 1 2.793 2.609 .119 Symbol Substitution Age 28.629 1 28.629 2.358 .137 School Language 39.593 1 39.593 3.261 .083 Home Language 4.099 1 4.099 .338 .566 School x Home 28.849 1 28.849 2.376 .136 Rhyming Task Age 11.14 1 11.14 4.24 .051 School Language 1.187 1 1.187 .451 .508 Home Language .266 1 .266 .101 .753 School x Home 3.555 1 3.555 1.351 .257


28 Appendix A Parent/Guardian Language questionnaire (All questions may not apply) 1. Which language/languages does your child speak (may list more than one)? 2. PREFERED language? 3. Which language/languages are regularly spoken in your home? 4. Which language/ languages is the child exposed to in Preschool? 5. Which language/ languages does the child use with peers and friends? 6. How long has the child been exposed to each of these languages? 1 st Language 2 nd Language 7. What is the native language of each of these caregivers? Mother ___________________________________________


29 Father ____________________________ ________________ Other caregiver______________________________________ 8. If English is not their native language, do all caregivers speak English? If so, for how long? Mother ___________________________________________ Father ____________________________________________ Other caregiver______________________________________ 9. In which language/languages does each of these family members addresses the child? Mother ___________________________________________ Father _______ _____________________________________ Sibling/s___________________________________________ Other _____________________________________________ 10. In what language/languages do you read to your child?


30 You and Your Family 1. What is your date of birth? Month Day Year 2. What is your current marital status? ____ Single, neve r married ____ Married ____ Separated ____ Divorced ____ Widowed 3. Including yourself how many adults age 18 and older live in your household? ______ Number of adults 4. Including your child how many children age 17 and younger live in your household ? ______ Number of children 5. Has the participating child been diagnosed with a developmental delay? ___________________________________________________ 6. What is the highest grade or year of regular school that you have completed? ____ Less than High Scho ol ____ Some High School ____ High school diploma, GED ____ Some college


31 ____ Graduate degree ____ Other Please specify ____________________________ 7. Do you currently work ____ Full time (30 or more hours per week) ____ Part time (less than 30 hours per week) ____ Seasonally (during certain times of the year) ____ Not at all 8. If you are employed, what is your current occupation? ____________________________________________ 9. What i s the highest grade or year of regular school that has completed? ____ Less than High School ____ Some High School ____ High school diploma, GED ____ Some college ____ Grad uate degree ____ Other Please specify ____________________________ 10. Does currently work


32 ____ Full time (30 or more hours per week) ____ Part time (less than 30 hours per week) ____ Seasonally (during certain times of the year) ____ Not at all 11. If is employed, what is his current occupation? _____________________________________________________ 12. What is your annual household income?