EFFECTS OF LINGUISTIC PROFICIENCY LEVEL ON THE COMPREHENSION OF ANAPHORIC SUBJECT PRONOUNS BY BILINGUAL AND MONOLINGUAL CHILDREN

ANNABELLE ROBBINS, Fordham University

Abstract

Previous research on anaphoric reference shows that monolingual fourth graders have difficulty with its comprehension. This study compared anaphora comprehension of bilingual and monolingual fourth-grade children at two different linguistic proficiency levels. Cummins' (1982) theory of cognitive academic/linguistic proficiency was operationalized to test the hypothesis that children of high and partial bilingual proficiency, respectively, would yield the same results as their monolingual peers. The 12 null hypotheses tested differences between bilinguals and monolinguals, differences between language proficiency groups, and interaction of language level and lingualism. The dependent variables were measures of anaphoric third-person subject pronouns, forward and backward, inter- and intra-sentential as found in actual fourth-grade school classroom texts.^ Four distinct groups made up the stratified sample: 20 high proficient bilinguals, 20 partial proficient bilinguals, 20 high proficient monolinguals, and 20 partial proficient monolinguals. The major criterion for sample selection was the 67th percentile and above for both high groups and the 34th to the 50th percentile for both partial bilingual and monolingual groups on the CTBS/S and the CTBS/Espanol. Additionally the bilingual subjects had to fall within the same percentile range in Spanish to be included in the sample.^ Analysis of variance yielded these findings. Of the 12 null hypotheses tested, 8 were retained. These tested differences and interactions between language groups, language proficiency and lingualism. The four rejected null hypotheses tested differences between high and partial language proficiency groups. Three of the four hypotheses were highly significant at the .001 level. The fourth hypothesis (backward intra-sentential) was significant at the .05 level. Lastly, supplementary analysis of the raw data demonstrated that the backward categories were most difficult for all four groups regardless of reading level achieved. However, in every category tested the high monolingual groups had the fewest incorrect answers followed by the high bilinguals. The partial groups divided on the four test categories.^ One implication of this study is that developmental factors influencing anaphora comprehension in monolingual children probably exercise a similar influence on bilinguals. In the specific case of anaphora, level of CALP achievement was the important element in anaphora comprehension. Bilingualism, though not an agent in accelerating the developmental sequence was nevertheless not a negative factor. ^

Subject Area

Language arts

Recommended Citation

ROBBINS, ANNABELLE, "EFFECTS OF LINGUISTIC PROFICIENCY LEVEL ON THE COMPREHENSION OF ANAPHORIC SUBJECT PRONOUNS BY BILINGUAL AND MONOLINGUAL CHILDREN" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8326185.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8326185

Share

COinS