Phonological Awareness Development in Bilingual Children: How do Swedish/Danish-Japanese bilingual children develop Japanese phonological awareness in comparison with Japanese children?
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
The phonological awareness development of bilingual children has been discussed from the viewpoint of whether they have an advantage compared to monolingual children. Some previous studies discovered that there were language pairs where bilingual children could have no advantage in it. However, it has not been clarified yet how bilingual children with such a language pair develop phonological awareness. The purpose of this study was to give an example of such a language pair and analyze bilingual children’s phonological awareness development in comparison with that of monolingual children.
This study examined how 3- to 7-year-old Swedish/Danish-Japanese bilingual children developed Japanese phonological awareness in comparison with the corresponding Japanese children. Forty-five children (26 bilingual children and 19 Japanese children) participated in this study. The bilingual children lived in Sweden or Denmark and had Swedish or Danish as their strong language in general but they also spoke Japanese on a daily basis. On the other hand, the Japanese children used exclusively Japanese at home as their sole first language. The children were individually tested on two types of Japanese syllables (fundamental syllables and special syllables). The fundamental syllable section had three types of tasks (segmentation task, abstraction task and identification task) and the special syllable section had one type of task (segmentation task).
The results showed no advantage for the bilingual children in Japanese phonological awareness development in comparison with the Japanese children. While the bilingual children developed Japanese phonological awareness with age and/or letter knowledge in the same way as the Japanese children, their developmental rate was generally slower than that of the Japanese children. Two factors appear to play a part in this finding: first, the fact that Swedish and Danish are phonologically different from Japanese so knowledge of these languages did not help the children to discover Japanese phonological structure. Second, the amount of exposure to Japanese for bilingual children was significantly less even though they spoke and understood the language well. Thus, this study suggests that bilingual children can have difficulty with regard to phonological awareness development in one of their languages when the other language is not conducive to the discovery of this language’s phonological structure and when exposure to this language is limited, even if they speak and understand the language well.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 68 p.
bilingual children, phonological awareness
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127081OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-127081DiVA: diva2:906184