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Academic discourse: Dissociating standardized and conversational measures of language proficiency in bilingual kindergarteners

  • KATHLEEN F. PEETS (a1) and ELLEN BIALYSTOK (a2)

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between performance on standardized measures of language proficiency and conversational measures of the same features used in academic discourse among 24 monolingual and 25 bilingual kindergarteners. Academic discourse performance was considered for both its linguistic and its genre features in two discourse forms: narrative and explanation. Bilinguals performed more poorly than monolinguals on standardized measures of language proficiency, yet they performed similarly to monolinguals in the discourse-based linguistic and genre features. Moreover, genre features were more strongly related to linguistic features assessed through discourse than to standardized tests of these same features. These findings indicate that standardized measures of language proficiency underrepresent the abilities of bilingual children and that children's second language proficiency may be more accurately reflected in conversation.

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Copyright

The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/>. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Kathleen F. Peets, Department of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada. E-mail: kpeets@ryerson.ca

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Applied Psycholinguistics
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