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Academic Paper


Title: Learning Foreign Labels from a Foreign Speaker: The Role of (Limited) Exposure to a Second Language
Author: Nameera Akhtar
Institution: University of California
Author: Jennifer Menjivar
Institution: University of California
Author: Elena Hoicka
Institution: University of Stirling
Author: Mark A. Sabbagh
Institution: Queen's University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Three- and four-year-olds (N = 144) were introduced to novel labels by an English speaker and a foreign speaker (of Nordish, a made-up language), and were asked to endorse one of the speaker's labels. Monolingual English-speaking children were compared to bilingual children and English-speaking children who were regularly exposed to a language other than English. All children tended to endorse the English speaker's labels when asked ‘What do you call this?’, but when asked ‘What do you call this in Nordish?’, children with exposure to a second language were more likely to endorse the foreign label than monolingual and bilingual children. The findings suggest that, at this age, exposure to, but not necessarily immersion in, more than one language may promote the ability to learn foreign words from a foreign speaker.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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