Chapter published in:Teachability and Learnability across Languages
Edited by Ragnar Arntzen, Gisela Håkansson, Arnstein Hjelde and Jörg-U. Keßler
[Processability Approaches to Language Acquisition Research & Teaching 6] 2019
► pp. 27–49
How much English do children know before they are exposed to instruction?
Applying Processability Theory to receptive grammar
This study investigates how much English Swedish-speaking children are able to extract from media prior to the instruction of English that takes place in school. The participants are 41 Swedish-speaking, 7 to 8-year-old children in grades 1 and 2. Their receptive knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary is tested using two picture-pointing tasks. For grammar, the ELIAS Grammar test is used (Kersten et al. 2010). Three morphological structures (plural -s, possessive -s and 3rd person singular -s) are targeted and analysed through the lens of Processability Theory (PT; Pienemann 1998, 2015). For vocabulary, the BVPS is used (Dunn et al. 1997). The results on grammar confirm the processability hierarchy predicted in PT, with a few exceptions. The remarks from the children reveal that they are able to discuss the linguistic forms and also give declarative rules. No signs of transfer from the L1 are found in the comprehension of morphology. However, the results on vocabulary indicate that the children use transfer. They rely on cognates and also on L1 phonology when trying to guess the meaning of the L2 words.
Published online: 06 June 2019
Anderson, S. R.
Anisfeld, M. & Tucker, G. R.
Bettoni, C. & Di Biase, B.
Buyl, A., & Housen, A.
Carroll, S. E.
Council of Europe
Di Biase, B., Kawaguchi, S. & Yamaguchi, Y.
Dufour, R., & Kroll, J. F.
Dunn, L. M., Dunn, L., Whetton, C. & Burley, J.
Dyson, B. & Håkansson, G.
Ellis, N. C., & Beaton, A.
Foucart, A., Ruiz-Tada, E. & Costa, A.
Gass, S. M.
Håkansson, G., Pienemann, M. & Sayehli, S.
Housen, A., Schoonjans, E., Janssens, S., Welcomme, A., Schoonheere, E. & Pierrard, M.
Hudson, R. A.
Jaatinen, R. & Saarivirta, T.
Kersten, K., Piske, T., Rohde, A., Steinlen, A. K., Weitz, M., Kurth, S.
2010 ELIAS Grammar Test. Universität Magdeburg: ELIAS. www.elias.bilikita.org
Kuppens, A. H.
Lantolf, J. P. & Yanez, M. C.
Laufer, B. & Nation, P.
Lindgren, E. & Munoz, C.
2007 Developing teachers of young learners: In-service for educational change and improvement. In Teaching Modern Languages to Young Learners, Teachers, Curricula and Materials, M. Nikolov, J. M. Djigunovic, G. Lundberg, T. Flanagan & M. Mattheoudakis (eds), 21–34. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.
Marian, V., & Spivey, M.
Martin, C. D., Thierry, G., Kuipers, J.-R., Boutonnet, B., Foucart, A. & Costa, A.
Pienemann, M. & Håkansson, G.
Pienemann, M. & Johnston, M.
Piirainen-Marsch, A. & Tainio, L.
Richards, J. C.
Savijärvi, M. & Seppänen, E. L.
Schwartz, B. D. & Sprouse, R. A.
Söderström, P., Horne, M., Frid, J. & Roll, M.
Sundqvist, P. & Sylvén, L. K.
2014a How Swedish children learn English through gaming. The conversation. theconversation.com/how-swedish-children-learn-english-through-gaming-31073
Steinlen, A. K., Håkansson, G., Housen, A. & Schelletter, C.
Swedish Media Council
2015 Ungar och medier 2015 [Kids and Media 2015]. https://statensmedierad.se/publikationer/ungarochmedier/ungarmedier2015.381.html
Sylvén, L. K.
Sylvén, L. K. & Ohlander, S.
Sylvén, L. K. & Sundqvist, P.