Multilingualism in Childhood
Run by School of Educational Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Enlli Thomas
Overall aims and purpose
One of the most miraculous achievements of a young child is their ability to learn language. Before they are able to complete relatively simple tasks such as standing on one leg, button up their coat or catch a ball, they are able to formulate highly complex sentences to express almost anything they wish to communicate. But more miraculously than that is the fact that the majority of children – all over the world – not only succeed at mastering language, but succeed at mastering two or more languages to various degrees, and are able to take advantage of all the benefits that come from knowing multiple languages, and do so with relative ease.
This module will introduce you to the world of bi/multilinguals, and explore the various pathways to acquiring language among bi/ multilinguals. We will be looking at the factors that influence complete mastery of language, whilst highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of knowing more than one language. During the module we will explore the main methods and ways of studying language development and explore how best to measure bi/multilinguals' language abilities.
In order to fulfill the aims of the module,students will learn about the following:
Issues relating to various definitions within the field
Theories of language acquisition and L2 learning
Psychological and linguistic characteristics of bi/multilinguals
Advantages and disadvantages of bi/multilingualism
Factors influencing individuals' language attainment
Assessing language abilities among young bi/multilinguals
Social use of language among adults and children: problems and possible solutions
Broad knowledge and good understanding of academic research within the field discussing the nature, characteristics and psychological, social and educational needs of bi/multilinguals. Ability to identify and discuss relevant evidence to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of knowing more than one language. Demonstrate good knowledge of the factors influencing patterns of language use. Ability to highlight the relationship between language theories, the characteristics of the individual and his/her environment, and language use, language skills and language assessment meaningfully.
Satisfactory knowledge and understanding of academic research within the field that discuss the nature, characteristics and psychological, social and educational needs of bi/multilinguals. Ability to identify the evidence that suggests advantages and disadvantages to knowing more than one language. Ability ot show understanding of the factors influencing patterns of language use. Ability to note the relationship between language theories, the characteristics of the speakers and his/her environment, and language use, language skills and methods of assessing language.
Ability to identify, and discuss a number of ideologies within the field effectively and purposely when discussing the nature, characteristics, and the psychological, social and educations needs of bi/multilinguals. Ability to identify and discuss critically the evidence available discussing the advantage and disadvantages of knowing more than one language. Able to discuss the evidence that highlight the factors that influence on patterns of language use meaningfully. Ability to discuss the relationship between language theories, the characteristics and the individual and his/her environment, and language use, language skills and methods of assessment meaningfully.
Ability to identify the factors that influence linguistic attainment of individuals and consider critically when and how to define linguistic fluency and competence in bi/multilinguals.
Ability to identify and evaluate critically the evidence suggesting advantages and disadvantages of knowing more than one language.
Ability to identify and critically analyse the factors that influence patterns of language use.
Ability to identify and evaluate different methods of bilingual teaching that are in existence across the world.
Ability to demonstrate sound understanding of the nature, characteristics and psychological, sociological and educational needs of bi/multilinguals
Ability to critically analyse the research evidence within the field of bi/multilingualism.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Weekly lecture - 2 hours
Independent work: information sourcing; reading; assignment preparation
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Resource implications for students
Bring laptops to sessions
Background reading: It is expected that students search for research articles themselves during sessions, and various arthcles will be districited as approrpaite throuought the course. Background reading:
Thomas, E. M. & Webb-Davies, P. (2017). Agweddau ar Ddwyieithrwydd. Caerfyrddin: Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. Available on: https://llyfrgell.porth.ac.uk/View.aspx?id=3001~4e~cunoKUqT (Welsh languge version only)
Altarriba, J. & Heredia, R. R. (2018). An Introduction to Bilingualism: Principles and Processes. London: Routledge. Baker, C. R. & Wright, W. E. (2017). Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (6ed Argraffiad). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
De Houwer, A. (2009). Bilingual First-Language Acquisition. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Hoffman, C. (1991). Introduction to Bilingualism. Longman.
Myers-Scotton, C. (2006). Multiple voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell. Romaine, S. (1995). Bilingualism (2il Argraffiad). Oxford: Blackwell.
Thomas, E. M. & Mennen, I. (2014) (Gol.). Advances in the Study of Bilingualism. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Thomas, E. M., Apolloni, D., & Parry, N. M. (2018). Dulliau Addysgu Dwyieithog. Bangor: Prifysgol Bangor. Wei, L. (2000). The Bilingualism Reader. Llundain: Routledge. Wei, L., & M. G. Moyer (2008). The Blackwell Guide to Research Methods in Bilingualism and Multilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell. .
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- X316: BA Astudiaethau Plentyndod ac Ieuenctid a Chymdeithaseg year 3 (BA/APIC)
- X318: BA Astudiaeth Plentyndod ac Ieuenctid a Pholisi Cymdeithasol year 3 (BA/APIPC)
- X319: BA Childhood and Youth Studies and Psychology year 3 (BA/CYP)
- X317: BA Childhood and Youth Studies and Social Policy year 3 (BA/CYSP)
- X315: BA Childhood and Youth Studies and Sociology year 3 (BA/CYSS)