trilingualism and daycare

Just thinking about one of our trilingual children…

Trilingual toddlers at daycare centres: the role of caregivers and peers in language development  Suzanne Quay pages 22-41 International Journal of Multilingualism Volume 8,   Issue 1,         2011



In two case studies of trilingual development in the home, it was not the home languages that were the strongest but the language of the respective daycare centres. This paper investigates, first, how well the trilingual children could separate their daycare language from their home languages. Then it explores the kinds of communicative interaction in the daycare setting that promote language development. Data were collected at Japanese daycare centres for a trilingual German–English–Japanese boy from ages 1;1 to 1;10 and for a trilingual Chinese–English–Japanese girl from ages 2;0 to 2;4. Both children demonstrated discourse separation by using more than 90% Japanese in the daycare environment. Notably, two recurring discourse patterns were found in the input – the use of gesture-supported speech and onomatopoeic expressions. Both types of input make communication more transparent for language-learning toddlers. This study of trilingual children in the daycare environment demonstrates that: (1) having fewer opportunities to communicate in multi-party conditions in daycare environments does not necessarily impede language development; and (2) receiving higher levels of caregiver than peer speech does not mean that peers have no role in supporting trilingual children’s language development.


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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