Title: To Kill More Birds with One Stone: Re-examining the Functions of Cross-linguistic Mixings Used by Multilingual Children
Stream: Language Development & Literacy
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Xiao-lei Wang, Adelphi University, United States
This study examines the cross-linguistic mixings (CLMs) of two siblings who simultaneously acquired three languages from birth. A longitudinal study (from age one to age nineteen) was conducted. The study yielded several interesting results. First, CLMs produced by the siblings was functional from the very beginning and became increasingly dynamic over the years. Second, the CLMs produced by the siblings had distinct developmental characteristics: instrumental function was more noticeable in early childhood; representational and heuristic functions were more visible in middle childhood and interactional, personal, regulatory and divertive functions were more prominent in adolescence. Third, although the communicative functions of the siblings’ CLMs largely reflected the commonly recognized functional categories reported in the language research literature, the siblings progressively interweaved more than one function in one single CLM through phonological manipulation and nonverbal cues to achieve different communicative purposes and negotiate their multilingual and multicultural identities. The study suggests that multilingual children can capitalize their multilingual resources to leverage their intents to maximize their communicative potential.
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