Language dominance, preference and awareness: a case study of two multilingual children in a bilingual community
This case study of two multilingual boys (aged 6-7) has two aims. Firstly, it explores how the participants view their language proficiency, language dominance and language preference and investigates how their statements show evidence of metalinguistic awareness. Naturalistic data, semi-structured interviews and background questionnaires were used to collect comprehensive data. The second aim is to compare participants’ statements about their own language proficiency and dominance with data from an oral narrative task in order to investigate whether they accurately predicted their dominant language. The participants performed the task in three languages (English, Spanish and Catalan) and their fluency and lexical richness was analyzed. Overall, fluency measures matched with their perceptions. However, lexical richness results (as measured by Guiraud’s Index and lexical density) were inconclusive. In summation, the participants demonstrate that young multilingual children are capable of providing accurate information on their language proficiency from very early on. The dissertation ends with directions for future research.