Bilingualism and the Impacts on Pronunciation

The Relationship between Bilingualism and Iranian EFL Pronunciation Proficiency Achievement


Master's Thesis, 2014

77 Pages, Grade: Advanced


Free online reading

Abstract

Human being is always capable of making integration of what he/she possesses to expand his/her understanding of the surrounding world and since communication is indeed of first steps in any understanding, people are to strive preparing of any tools helping them out in this field. Language is the most outstanding tool in any communication and people who owns more than one languages are doubtlessly more successful in their communications with the people of other nations. Bilingualism is actually the simultaneous possessing of the complete knowledge of two languages and the ability to make use of those languages in the daily communications.

The aim of the study was the relationship between bilingualism and Iranian EFL learners’ pronunciation proficiency achievement. A convenience sample consisting of 60 Iranian male pre-intermediate EFL learners with an age range of 17 to 23 participated in this study. the whole sample were divided into two groups, i.e. 30 bilinguals from Louranica English Teaching Institution in Jask ,who use their mother tongue, Balouchi, in the local and informal communications and Persian, as a second language, in the official communications, were compared with 30 monolinguals from pre-intermediate EFL learners of Niavaran Foreign Language institute in Kerman using only Persian in all of their communication and conversations. Both groups of the participants were Iranian pre-intermediate EFL learners of different cultural background and attitudes. Results showed that bilingualism affects the learners’ achievement of English pronunciation. There are significant differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in regard to learning English pronunciation. Also the existing English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 have important impacts on their English pronunciation development.

Key words: bilingualism, pronunciation proficiency achievement, Iranian EFL learners

چکیده:

انسان همیشه قابلیت بکارگیری دارایی های خودش را در جهت گسترش درک وفهمش از دنیای اطراف داشته است و از آنجاییکه ارتباط از اولین قدمها در هر نوع درکی هست، انسانها باید تلاش به فراهم کردن هر نوع ابزاری کنند که آنها را در این زمینه یاری میکند. زبان مهمترین ابزار در هر نوع ارتباطی است و کسانی که بیش از یک زبان دارند بی شک در ارتباطاتشان با سایر ملل موفق تر میباشند. دو زبانگی در واقع در اختیار داشتن همزمان دانش کامل دو زبان و توانایی بکارگیری آن دو زبان در ارتباطات روزمره است.

هدف این مطالعه بررسی رابطه بین دو زبانه بودن و موفقیت در مهارت تلفظ زبان آموزان ایرانی بوده است. نمونه آماری 60 نفری از زبان آموزان مرد قبل از سطح متوسط با سنی در محدوده 17 تا 23 سال انتخاب شدند. نمونه آماری به دو گروه 30 نفره شامل دوزبانه ها از موسسه لورانیکا در جاسک که از زبان مادری یعنی بلوچی در ارتباط غیر رسمی استفاده می کنند و از زبان فارسی در ارتباطات رسمی استفاده می کنند و 30 نفر تک زبانه از زبان آموزان موسسه نیاوران کرمان که در تمام ارتباطات رسمی و غیر رسمی از زبان فارسی استفاده می کنند. هر دو گروه از زبان آموزان در سطح پیش از متوسط بوده و پیشینه فرهنگی و گرایش های متفاوتی داشتند. نتایج تحقیق نشان داد که دو زبانه بودن بر موفقیت تلفظ زبان آموزان تأثیر معنی دار دارد. همچنین اختلاف معنی داری بین دوزبانه ها و تک زبانه ها در ارتباط با یادگیری تلفظ زبان وجود داشت. در نهایت یافته های نشان داد که کلمات و صداهای باقی مانده انگلیسی موجود در زبان اول دوزبانه ها دارای اثر معنی دار بر موفقیت تلفظ زبان انگلیسی در زبان آموزان بود.

کلمات کلیدی: دوزبانگی، موفقیت تلفظ انگلیسی، زبان آموزان ایرانی

Chapter one Introduction

1.1. Introduction

A completely monolingual country where only one single language is spoken by the entire nation can hardly be found in the world. Many countries in the world are characterized by a long history of bilingualism, the most outstanding of which are the United States, Canada, China, India, Iran, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, and Sweden.

Grejeon (1982) estimates that about half the world’s population is bilingual, and that bilingualism is present in practically every country of the world. Bilingualism is a controversial issue. Much research has been conducted to find the effect of bilingualism on individuals' linguistic development, cognitive development, educational attainment, and intelligence. Bilingualism provides a very clear example of how essential it is to study language within its social context. The study of a language in its social context will help us to achieve a better understanding not only of a social factors which influence and direct linguistic behaviour, but also, of the psychological and more purely linguistic factors involved. The study of bilingualism also gives us an opportunity to relate our linguistic studies to other areas such as sociology, psychology, social psychology, and pedagogy in a manner that is genuinely interdisciplinary (Appel & Muysken, 1687; Baker, 1988)

Historically, from 1920s to 1960s, the common belief among educational researchers and writers was that bilingualism had a detrimental effect on linguistic and intellectual skills. These studies comparing monolinguals with bilinguals indicated that bilinguals suffered from a language handicap that affected a variety of both linguistic and intellectual skills (Malakoff, 1988; Wolfson, 1989).

Some studies have shown the neutrality of bilingualism in linguistic and cognitive skills. However, research which reported neutral effects was not numerous and was of interest only for a short period of time. Macnamara (1966), Cummins and Gulustan (1974), Bain (1975), and Chohen (1975) are among those who have reported this issue.

Since the Early 1960s, a number of studies have shown positive consequences of bilingualism on intellectual functioning. Peal and Lambert (1962) discovered that the bilingual children showed superior performance in intelligent tasks. Since then there have been studies reporting the advantages of bilingualism in different areas (Bain, 1975; Bialystok, 1986; Liedtke & Nelson, 1968; Cummins, 1978; and Carringer, 1974). Other studies indicate that bilinguals experience the world in different language systems. That is, they represent two sets of cultures and experiences which enable them to alternate between two systems of rules in the manipulation of symbols (Taylor, 1976; Lambert & Tucker, 1972; Cummins, 1980, 1982).

Bilingual speakers are better able to deal with distractions than those who speak only a single language, and that may help offset age-related declines in mental performance, as researchers say (Armstrong, 2007).

A strong foundation in the native language makes learning a second language both easier and faster with a strong foundation, content area, and skills, like reading and writing, transfer automatically to the second language. When this happens, children do not have to relearn in a second language what they have already learned in the first. In other words, when a concept has been taught and understood in one language only additional labels are needed in the other language.

Bringing up children bilingual is an important decision. It will affect the rest of their lives and the lives of their parents. For children, being bilingual or monolingual may affect their identity, social arrangements, schooling, employment, marriage, end area of residence, travel, end thinking. Becoming bilingual is more than having two languages. Bilingualism has educational, social, economical, cultural, and political benefits. Where parents have differing first languages, the advantages of children becoming bilingual is that they will be able to communicate in each parents' preferred language.

This may enable a subtle, finer texture of relationship with the parent. Alternatively, they will be able to communicate with parents in one language and with their friends and in the community in a different language. For many mothers and fathers, it is important to be able to speak to their child in their first language. Many parents can only communicate with full intimacy, naturally and expressively in their first (or preferred or dominant) language. A child who speaks to one parent in one language and the other parent in another language may be enabling a maximally close relationship with the parents. Sometimes, both parents are passing to that child part of their past, part of their heritage. Being a bilingual also allows someone to bridge between generations. When grandparents, uncles, aunts, and other relatives in another region speak one language that is different from the child's language, the monolingual child may be unable to communicate with such relations.

1.2. Statement of the problem

There is a widespread concern about the most effective ways to educate bilingual children because they often enter school with language skills that are unlike those of their monolingual peers. Students who begin learning a second language at the time of the first contact within the educational system are at particular risk of misdiagnosis with language impairment. These bilingual students may appear more or less successful in some language skills than their fellows but only when compared to monolingual ones.

For almost a century, there has been a small but consistent research interest in the possible implications that bilingualism might have on pupils’ cognitive and intellectual development (reviewed by Hakuta 1986). Much of this research was conducted in schools, using school-type measures of achievement (e.g. Macnarama, 1966) and often including standardized IQ testing (e.g. Sear, 1923). In this research, the results reflect a concern with the possible effects of bilingualism on learners’ pronunciation development, and perhaps even a presumed association between academic success and bilinguality. Conclusions from the literature have passed through phases of rejection and support of bilingualism as a positive childhood experience, but the question persisted as if unresolved, and the concern regarding the students’ academic achievement has remained salient. Undoubtedly, part of the motivation for keeping these questions on a research agenda in spite of definitive pronouncements at various points in time is the practical concern of parents for the well-being of their children; if bilingualism impacted the children’s second language development, they would need to know that. It is particularly surprising, ergo, that during the long history of such studies, little research has directly investigated the impact of bilingualism on the achievement of English language and one of its most indelible academic legacy, the learning of pronunciation.

Recently a number of studies have been published that provide an overview of trends in bilingual typical language acquisition in simultaneous and sequential learning contexts in domains such as semantics, morphosyntax, narrative, and literacy. (Gensee et al. , 2004, Goldstein, 2004; Oller & Eilers, 2002). Studies that appear to address the role of bilingualism in pronunciation are generally concerned with related issues and bilingualism itself. Many, for example, address the problem of learning to read in English, a related but different issue. The matter is complicated by the logical confusion that being a bilingual makes it inevitable to learn pronunciation skill of a second language, namely, English, more efficiently than those who lack this linguistic feature, to wit bilingualism, or it may be considered as an obstacle in their path with respect to learning the early mentioned second language skills. Therefore, there is an attempt in this study to isolate the role of bilingualism in this particular skill, and the major concern with pronunciation of English in the case of Iranian EFL context.

1.3. Significance of the study

The study of bilingual pupils shows that learning and using two languages may affect fundamental aspects of a third one. The positive impacts of bilingualism are seen most profoundly in what is known as executive function or self-control tasks and in how the knowledge that young bilingual speakers have in one language is transferred to the second one. Earlier perspectives on the consequences of bilingualism often viewed possessing two linguistic codes as the source of developmental problems or delays. New findings from researchers working in a variety of disciplines, including education, psycholinguistics, psychology, speech and hearing sciences, and neural processes (Bain, 1974; Peal & Lambert, 1962; Ricciardelli, 1992; Torrance, Wu, Gowan, & Aliotti 1970), suggest that there are positive consequences of bilingualism. Researchers have discovered that the cognitive systems of bilingual children differ from those of monolingual children in some remarkable ways. Learning, speaking, and making use of more than one language may influence basic aspects of cognitive and neural development, potentially influencing the way those systems learn and represent information (Bialystok, 1999; Bialystok, Craik, Klein, & Viswanathan, 2004; Bialystok & Martin, 2004; Mechelli et al., 2004).

As an increasing number of research studies have identified the positive effects of bilingualism (for example, see Cummins, 2000, for a full discussion) on different mental processes such as acquisition, learning, cognition, and according to a BBC report (BBC, 2006), describing the benefits of being bilingual by linking the brain to muscles and by noting that learning language is an intellectual exercise, it is of paramount salience to study the implications of this phenomenon on the learning of a third language, since children who acquire two or more languages from birth, or learn a second language after the acquisition of the first one, demonstrate strength, and it is highly essential to consider one of those remarkable impacts of bilingualism on the previously mentioned mental processes, influential in better learning of a language skill. If the hypothesis that bilingualism affects learning of pronunciation ability of a third language, English, is supposed to be confirmed, then lots of dark angles of teaching/learning procedures in bilingual societies will be lightened so that such societies can invest in the efficient education of bilingual students so as to prepare them for specific businesses which are directly in contact with English, including teaching different fields of this foreign language which are taught and studied in Iran, i.e. translation, TEFL, literature, and lots of other fields which are closely associated with English.

It is obvious that the first sign of familiarity with a foreign language is the ability to speak in that language and more obviously those speakers will be more successful since they have the capability of speaking just or nearly like the native speakers of that language or to pronounce words and expressions like native speakers. Here, in this project, there is an attempt to detect the possible impacts of bilingualism on the learning of a third language, English, and more specifically an overriding skill of this language, namely pronunciation.

The result of this research can illuminate the role of bilingualism in the theory of second language learning. This study could be useful in the design of valuable educational programs for bilinguals. The results of this study also show the interrelationship between language and thought (i.e. mind).

1.4. Objectives of the study

1- Determining the effect of bilingualism on English pronunciation development.
2- Investigation difference between bilinguals and monolinguals as to learning English pronunciation.
3- Determining the effect of existing English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 on their English pronunciation achievement.

1.5. Research questions

1- Does bilingualism affect English pronunciation development?

2- Is there any difference between bilinguals and monolinguals as to learning English pronunciation?

3- Do the existing English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 influence their English pronunciation achievement?

1.6. Research hypothesis

H01: Bilingualism does not affect the students’ achievement of English pronunciation.

H02: There are no significant differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in regard to learning English pronunciation.

H03: The exiting English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 have no important impacts on their English pronunciation development.

1.7. Definition of key terms

1.7.1. Bilingualism

Weinreich (1967) suggested that "the practice of alternatively using two languages will be called bilingualism and the people involved bilinguals", that is, some one who regularly uses two or more languages in alternation is a bilingual.

1.7.2. Pronunciation

Pronunciation is an integral part of foreign language learning since it directly affects learners' communicative competence as well as performance (Pourhosein, 2012).

Chapter Two Review of the related literature

2.1. Introduction

This chapter attempts to clarify many questions regarding bilingualism and pronunciation proficiency achievement. It takes a look at the advantages and disadvantages of bilingualism. Different models and programs of bilingualism are introduced. It also seeks to review various studies on bilingualism.

2.1. Bilingualism

The number of languages spoken throughout the world is estimated to be 6000 (Grimes, 1992). Although a small number of languages, including Arabic, Bengali, English, French, Hindi, Mali, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish are important link languages or languages of wider communication around the world, these are very often spoken as second, third, forth, or later acquired languages. Fewer than 25% of the world's approximately 200 countries recognize two or more official languages, with a more handful recognizing more than two (e.g. India, Luxembourg, and Nigeria). However, despite these conservative government policies, available data indicate that there are many more bilingual or multilingual individuals in the world than there are monolinguals. In addition, there are many children throughout the world who have been and continue to be educated through a second or later-acquired language, at least for some portion of their formal education, than there are children educated exclusively via the first language (Keshavarz, 2004).

In many parts of the world, bilingualism or multilingualism and innovative approach to education that involve the use of two or more languages constitute the normal everyday expectation (Duther, 1994: World Banker, 1995). The results from published, longitudinal, and critical research undertaken in varied settings throughout the world indicate clearly that the development of multiple language proficiency is possible and it is viewed desirable by educators, policy makers, and parents in many countries (Tucker, 1999).

In an increasingly diversified and multilingual world, more and more young children found themselves in an environment where more than one language is used. Similarly, with job changes that involve moving to different parts of the world, parents can feel overwhelmed by the linguistic demands on them and their children. People everywhere have strong ideas about children growing up with a second or third language. These factors influence how people interact with their children and how they look at other people's children.These ideas also influence how professionals such as teachers, doctors, and speech therapists advise parents of children growing up bilingually. Sadly, many ideas that people have about children growing up with a second or third language in childhood are not of any benefit to these children and may in fact have adverse effects. In the arithmetic of the language development, what does the need to function in two languages (bilingualism) add or subtract to a student's development? Early research on the effects of bilingualism pointed a very bleak picture. In 1952, Thompson (cited in Hakuta, 1986) concluded, "there can be no doubt that the child who is exposed and reared deliberately in a bilingual environment is handicapped in this language growth," In essence, this view contended that learning one language is hard enough, so learning two must be at least twice as hard, practically for a young child. This thinking led school administrators to discourage bilingual instruction in schools (Hakuta, 1986).

Most recent research suggests that this conclusion is false. Both in the United States and throughout the rest of the world, recent research has shown that young children who live in supportive and nurturing bilingual environment do not develop linguistic handicaps (Garcia, 1983). This research has carefully documented the development of bilingualism in Mexican-American children and compared the result to the development of English in monolingual children. These comparisons clearly indicated that bilingual children, both at early and late periods of development do not differ significantly from monolinguals (Zhang et al., 1995).

Research studies by Collier (1987) and Cummins (1981) suggest that very different time periods are required for students to attain peer-appropriate levels in conversational skills in English as compared to academic skills specifically, while there will be major individual differences (Fillmore, 1999), conversational skills often approach native like levels with about two years of exposure to English, whereas a period of four to nine years (Collier, 1987, 1989) or five to seven years (Cummins, 1981) of school exposure has been reported as native speakers in academic aspects of English.

2.1.1. Definition of Bilingualism

The term bilingualism has not been used in a consistent way among researchers and the theoreticians. The range of meaning of the term bilingualism varies throughout the literature on this topic. Some authors focus on equal passive competence in both languages (listening and perhaps also reading equally well) where as others focus on equal productive competence (speaking and perhaps also writing). Researchers also differ on the proficiency degree of of necessary bilingualism. Some of them consider a person as a bilingual when only if he or she knows both languages equally; others may include third-year students of the second language within their definition of the bilingual. Some experimental tests are designed to exclude speakers of more than the two languages in question, whereas others unquestioningly consider polyglots to be bilinguals. Uriel Weinreich, one of the founding fathers of bilingual studies, and a bilingual himself, offers one of the shortest definitions in his well-known book "language in contact". The practice of alternatively using two languages will be called bilingualism, and the person involved, bilingual (Weinreich, 1968).

Romaine (1989) incorporates the entire process of second language acquisition within the scope of bilingualism. Williams and Snipper (1990) define bilingualism as a person's ability to process two languages.

In this regard, Taylor (1976) points out that a bilingual is a person who uses two different languages with different sounds, vocabulary, and syntax. The question of degree of bilingualism concerns proficiency, how function focuses on the uses bilingual speaker has for languages, and the different roles they have in the individual's total repertoire. Alternation concerns the extent to which the individual alternates between the languages. Finally, interference has to do with the extent to which the individual manages to keep the languages separate.

Hakuta (1987) notes that anyone who has equal facility in two different languages is referred to as a bilingual. According to Halliday, Mclonjosh and Strevens (1964), bilingualism is recognized when a native speaker of a language uses a second language either partially or imperfectly (cited in Stern, 1983).

Grosjean (1982) defines bilingualism as "the regular use of two languages". The distinction is based principally on the semantic aspects of language. The compound bilingual is one who attributes the same meaning to the corresponding words in the two languages. Ervin and Osgood maintain that this correspondence is the result of having learned the second language in school, translation, etc. Coordinate bilinguals, on the other hand, are able to give different or practically different meaning to corresponding words. It is clear, then, that there is little consensus as to the exact meaning of the term bilingualism, and that it has been used to refer to a wide variety of phenomena. Research associated with bilingualism reflects this semantic confusion. It is essential, therefore, in reconciling contradictory results associated with bilingualism, to be aware of the levels of bilingualism attained by the experimental students, and the social and psychological factors which lie behind the particular "bilingualism" attained (Cummins and Swain, 1986).

2.1.2. Bilingualism's Benefits

Bilingual speakers are better able to deal with distractions than those who speak only a single language, and that may help offset age-related declines in mental performance, as researchers say (Armstrong, 2007).

In studies conducted in Canada, India and Hong Kong, psychologists determined that individuals who spoke two languages with equal proficiency and used both equally did better than monolingual volunteers on tests that measured how quickly they could perform while distracted. "The bilingual advantage was greater for older participants," the researchers wrote yesterday in the journal Psychology and Aging, adding that "bilingualism appears to offset age-related losses" in certain mental processes. Researchers have used the Simon task, a test used to measure mental abilities known to decline with age. Test takers saw a red or a blue square flash on a computer screen and were told to press one or the other of the two "shift" keys depending on which color appeared. As previous research has found, performance slowed when the colored squares moved from their original positions.

Three experiments showed that bilingual speakers of Cantonese and English, Tamil and English or French and English consistently outperformed English-only speakers, said the researchers at York University and the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto, and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Onil, 2006).

The team, led by Ellen Bialystok at York University, hypothesized that the ability to hold two languages in the mind at the same time, without allowing words and grammar from one to slip into the other, might account for the greater control needed to perform well on the Simon task. An alternate hypothesis is that bilinguals have superior working memories for storing and processing information.

2.1.3. Age of second language acquisition and brain representation

Researchers in cognitive science have considered whether there is a critical period for learning a language. This topic is also of interest to those learning a second language. Specifically, investigators have inquired about the differences between early and late second language learners. Recent work using event-related potentials (ERP) supports previous behavioral findings suggesting that second language learning is better in those who learn their second language early.

2.1.4. Strong Native Language

A strong foundation in the native language makes learning a second language both easier and faster with a strong foundation, content area, and skills, like reading and writing, transfer automatically to the second language. When this happens, children do not have to relearn in a second language what they have already learned in the first. In other words, when a concept has been taught and understood in one language only additional labels are needed in the other language.

Table 2-1. The advantages of having a strong native language

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

2.1.5 The advantages of being bilingual

Bringing up children bilingual is an important decision. It will affect the rest of their lives and the lives of their parents. For children, being bilingual or monolingual may affect their identity, social arrangements, schooling, employment, marriage, end area of residence, travel, end thinking. Becoming bilingual is more than having two languages. Bilingualism has educational, social, economical, cultural, and political benefits. Where parents have differing first languages, the advantages of children becoming bilingual is that they will be able to communicate in each parents' preferred language.

This may enable a subtle, finer texture of relationship with the parent. Alternatively, they will be able to communicate with parents in one language and with their friends and in the community in a different language. For many mothers and fathers, it is important to be able to speak to their child in their first language. Many parents can only communicate with full intimacy, naturally and expressively in their first (or preferred or dominant) language. A child who speaks to one parent in one language and the other parent in another language may be enabling a maximally close relationship with the parents. Sometimes, both parents are passing to that child part of their past, part of their heritage. Being a bilingual also allows someone to bridge between generations. When grandparents, uncles, aunts, and other relatives in another region speak one language that is different from the child's language, the monolingual child may be unable to communicate with such relations.

One advantage of a bilingual child and adults is having two or more worlds of experience, with each language has different systems of behavior, folk sayings, histories, tradition, ways of meeting and greeting, ritual of birth, marriage, and death, ways of conversing, different literatures, music, forms of entertainment, religious traditions, ways of understanding and interpreting the world, ideas and beliefs, ways of thinking and drinking, crying and loving, eating and caring, ways of joking and mourning, with two languages someone has a wider cultural experience, and, possibly, greater tolerance of cultural differences and less racism (Bialystok, 2008).

Some of the potential advantages of bilingualism and bilingual education:

Communication Advantages:

1. Wider communication (extended family, international links, employment)
2. Literacy in two languages

Cultural Advantages:

3. Broader enculturation, a deeper multiculturalism and two "language worlds" of experience
4. Greater tolerance and less racism

Cognitive Advantages:

5. Thinking benefits (creativity, sensitivity to communication)

Character Advantages:

6. Raised self-esteem
7. Security in identity

Curriculum Advantages:

8. Increased curriculum achievement
9. Easier to learn a third language

Cash Advantages:

10. Economic and employment benefits (Armstrong, 2007).

2.1.6. The importance of child's two languages to be practiced and supported outside the home

Where families speak another language other than the regional majority language, there may be little support for the home language in the community or in formal schooling. When such parents feel isolated, there is sometimes the tendency to feel like giving up the heritage language and speaking the regional majority language to the child. The pressure in the community tends to be to speak in the language of the region rather than the foreign language. The answer is that the bilingualism inside the child can be effectively sustained through language of the home being different from the language of the community. However, this will be a challenge. If the child learns the community language via the school and the street, there is sufficient support for the language outside the home for the child to become fully bilingual (Peal and Lambert, 1992).

The problem is not usually with learning the majority language of the region, but in maintaining the language of the home. This, however, should not deter determined parents. It is usually better for the heritage language to be tough in the home, giving the child the chance of bilingualism, biculturalism and a sense of continuity (Baker, 1996).

2.1.7. Myths about Bilingualism

Learning two languages confuses a child and lowers his intelligence. Old, poorly designed studies done primarily in the United States claimed to show that bilinguals hold lower intelligence than monolinguals. Newer research has revealed several flaws in the studies. The most obvious flaw is that the bilingual children were recent immigrants, with poorer knowledge of English and more stressful life situation than their monolingual counterparts. Newer studies with more careful controls have shown that bilinguals are better at some specific tasks, such as language games, but that otherwise the differences between bilinguals and monolinguals are negligible (Cummins, 1999).

A child should learn one language properly first; then, you can start teaching the other. As in the myth above, this is an old belief based on flawed research. Children who learn two languages in a loving, supportive environment become very skilled at both. Children who learn two languages in a stressful environment may have language development problems but so will children learning only one language in that some sort of environment (Bialystok et al., 2003).

A child who learns two languages won't feel at home in either of them. She'll always feel caught between two cultures. Relatives, friends and strangers will often caution about the" identity problems" of children that may develop if their parents insist on maintaining a bilingual home. The children, they believe, will grow up without strongly identifying with either of the languages. And, therefore the groups that speak them. Adults who have grown up bilingual, however, generally report when asked that they never had problems knowing what groups they were a part of. Some even find this concern to be rather bizarre.

Children who feel accepted by both their cultures will identify with both. Unfortunately, when two cultures have unfriendly relations, a child belonging to both may be shunned by both. This is not, however, a specifically bilingual issue. Bilinguals have to translate from their weaker to their stronger language. The overwhelming majority of bilinguals can think in either of their two languages. They don't, as some monolinguals assume, think in one language only and immediately translate into the other language when necessary ((Bialystok et al., 2005).

Children who grow up bilingual will make great translators when they grow up. Being bilingual does not necessarily make a person a better translator nor have any studies shown that growing up bilingual gives one an advantage or a disadvantage over those who become bilingual as adults when it comes to translating. There are many other skills involved, and bilinguals, just like monolinguals, are too different to allow for easy generalizations. There is one important exception here; however, the sign language interpreters you may have seen on television or at public events are most often hearing children of deaf parents, who grow up bilingual. Real bilinguals never mix their languages.

Those who do are confused semilinguals sometimes "mix" their languages, leading monolinguals to wonder if they are really able to tell them apart. Usually, the problem is most genuine confusion- that is, inability to tell the languages apart. For more common problems are interferences, when words or grammar from the one language "leak" into the other language without the speaker being aware of it – analogous to a slip of the tongue – or "code-switching", when the speaker more or less intentionally switches languages for effect - analogous to mixing jargon or slang standard speech. Many, if not most, bilingual children will use both languages at once during the early stages of their language development. Semilingualism is a far more serious, and relatively rare, situation that occurs when a child in a stressful environment is trying to learn two or more languages with very little input in any of them (Chang and Luk, 2005).

2.1.8. Bilinguals have split personalities

Some bilinguals do report feeling that they have a different "personality" for each language. However, this may be because they are acting according to different cultural norms when speaking each of their languages. When speaking English, they assume the cultural role expected of them in English-speaking society. This is different from the cultural role expected of them in German-speaking society, which they assume when speaking German. The change in language causes a change in cultural expectations (Bialystok and Martin, 2004).

Bilingualism is a charming expectation, but monolingualism is, of course, the rule. No accurate survey of the number of bilinguals in the world has ever been taken; for fairly obvious practical reasons, it never will be. But it is very reasonable to guess that over half of the world's population is bilingual; most of those who will read this live in countries where monolingualism is the rule, but are seeing a very unrepresentative sample of the world. Be very careful if you don't follow the rules exactly, your children will never manage to learn both languages.

Some people maintain that "the only way" to raise bilingual children is to follow one specific pattern, usually by speaking both languages in the home. Practical experience, on the other hand, has shown that children learn both languages regardless of the pattern of exposure, as long as that pattern is reasonably consistent (and perhaps even that is not a requirement!) You will never manage to make him bilingual now. People really can't learn a language after age X. Language learning is easier the younger you are when you start, and there are biological reasons why very few adults can learn to speak a new language with a native accent. However, people can learn valuable language skills at any age. Establishing a bilingual home when your first child is born, if not before, is the easiest for all, but it can be done later if you for some reason must do so (Bialystok and Shapero, 2005).

2.2. Societal and Individual Bilingualism

Generally, two types of bilingualism are distinguished: societal and individual bilingualism. Societal bilingualism occurs when in a given society two or more languages are spoken (Appel and Muysken, 1987). In this sense, nearly all societies are bilingual, but they can differ with regard to the degree or formal bilingualism. Theoretically, the following forms can be distinguished (see Figure 2-1).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In situation I, the two languages are spoken by two different groups and each group is monolingual; a few bilinguals take care of the necessary intercrop communication. This form of societal bilingualism often occurred in former colonial countries, where the colonizer spoke English, for instance, and the native people a local language. In societies of type II, all people are bilingual. Approximations to such a form of societal bilingualism can be found in African countries and in India where people have command of more than two languages. In the third form of societal bilingualism one group is monolingual and the other bilingual. In most cases, this last group will form a minority, perhaps not in the numerical or statistical, but in the sociological sense; it is a non-dominant or oppressed group.

Situations like III can be observed in Tabriz where people who speak Turkish must become bilingual, i.e. learn Farsi, while the Farsi-speaking group, which is sociologically dominant can remain monolingual. Of course, forms I, II, and III are only theoretical types which don't exist in a pure form in the world we live in; different mixtures are much more common (Appel and Muysken, 1987). The linguistic situation of most countries is far more complex, with more than two groups and more than two languages involved. Individual bilingualism, on the other hand, refers to a person who knows more than one language. It is fairly clear what bilingualism is, but determining whether a given person is bilingual or not is far from simple (Tortoza et al., 1995).

2.3 The Three Models

A considerable number of studies have so far been conducted on the subject of bilingualism. These studies have shown the researchers and educators in this field hold different views about the effects of bilingualism on the linguistic skills and cognitive development of the speakers (Cummins & Swain, 1986, Appel & Muysken, 1987; Baker, 1988). Generally speaking, there are three views about the impact of bilingualism on the linguistic skills. These views are as follows:

2.3.1. The Balance Hypothesis

The idea that bilingualism has a detrimental effect on linguistic skills was formulated as the "balance hypothesis" (McNamara, 1966). This hypothesis claims that human beings have a certain potential for language learning. If an individual learns more than one language, knowing one language restricts the possibilities for learning other languages. More proficiency in one language implies fewer skills in the other ones (Appel & Muysken, 1987).

The hypothesis claims that the brain has only a limited capacity and, therefore, the addition of a second language automatically leads to a decrease of proficiency in the L1. When commenting upon it Cummins (1981) uses the analogy of balloons: the bilingual has two half-full spaces, depicted as balloons, in his head, representing his L1 and L2 language proficiencies, while the monolingual has only one, better filled balloon (cited in Hoffman, 1991).

2.3.2. The separate underlying proficiency (SUP) MODEL

According to this model, L1 and L2 are seen as separately stored systems and it is considered that they function independently of one another Cummins (1980a) refers to this as "separate underlying proficiency" (or SUP). If L1 and L2 proficiencies are separate, then content and skills learned through L1 cannot transfer to L2 and vice versa. This model encourages the belief that a bilingual is not necessarily more cognitively developed than a monolingual and he or she may not perform better than the monolingual on different tests of language proficiency or intelligence because L1 and L2 are kept separate in the brain. In terms of the balloon metaphor illustrated in Figure 2.3, blowing into the L1 balloon will succeed in inflating L1 but not L2.

2.3.3. The common underlying proficiency (CUP) model

Cummins (1981) made this proposal in respect to the Balance theory and the SUP model. In the place of the two balloons, he suggests the metaphor of a Think Tank containing the bilingual's L1 and L2 proficiency. Each maintains its separate linguistic characteristics, which are dependent on input and feedback received from output, yet the same mental expertise underlies reception and production of both languages. In the CUP model, it is assumed that there is a common cognitive academic proficiency underlying both languages the bilingual speaks. Cummins (1984) argues that because of this non-language-specific common underlying proficiency, the literacy-related skills can be transferred from one language to the other (cited in Appel & Muysken, 1987).

For example, reading lessons, in Farsi for bilingual Farsi-English children also contributes to the development of their English reading skills, because they develop their common underlying proficiency. According to this view, bilingualism does not have a detrimental impact on language skills. The skills developed in the mother tongue will also support the acquisition of academic and literacy-related skills in the second language. The interdependence or common underlying proficiency implies, therefore, that experience with either language can promote development of language-cognitive skills, given proper motivation and exposure to both languages and that the two languages are interdependent at deeper level of processing. That is, a bilingual should perform better than a monolingual because he or she knows two languages.

2.4. The threshold Hypothesis

The threshold hypothesis was developed in the attempt to deal with the inconsistency in findings regarding bilingual children's cognitive ability. It was developed by Skutnabb-kangas and Toukoma (1977) and by Cummins (1976; 1978, 1977), and based on their examination of issues relating to the education of minority children. It was concerned, especially with establishing the point at which bilingualism can be seen to lead to positive cognitive consequences.

Cummins (1977a) suggests that there may be a threshold level of linguistic competence which a bilingual child must attain both in order to avoid cognitive deficits and allow the potentially beneficial aspects of becoming bilingual to influence his cognitive growth. So, the seemingly contradictory results of the studies so far conducted are thus explained by a threshold.

Cummins (1976, 1978, 1979), and Skutnabb-kangas and Toukoma (1977) hypothesized that different types of bilingualism reflect differences in cognitive development according to the threshold of competences reached and despite the fact that other researchers have placed more emphasis on the role of social, economic, and attitudinal factors, Cummins (1979) maintains that "level of conceptual linguistic knowledge has a major role in determining the outcome of educational programs for minority children".

Hakuta and Diaz (1984) speculate that the effects of bilingualism on the cognitive development and the linguistic performance of the individuals are due to the degree of bilingualism. This would be in line with Cummins (1976) and Skutnabb.

Two thresholds are proposed in the levels of the bilingual's linguistic competence but these levels cannot be determined in absolute sense (Cummins & Swain, 1986). Each threshold is a level of linguistic competence that children must reach; firstly, to avoid the negative consequences of bilingualism, and secondly, to experience the possible positive consequences of bilingualism. The child may experience either negative, positive, or neither negative nor positive cognitive effects, according to whether that child has respectively limited, proficient, or partial bilingualism. The lower threshold must be attained if negative cognitive effects are to be avoided as limited linguistic skills will hinder academic progress and cognitive growth (Hoffman, 1991) Below this threshold level, Cummins (1979) claims that "children's competence in a language may be sufficiently weak". These children are double semi-linguals which will restrict their cognitive learning experiences.

At this top level, Cummins (1979) claims that they are most likely to be able "to reap the cognitive benefits of their bilingualism", (Hamers & Bakers, 1983, Baker, 1988; Romanie, 1989; Hoffman, 1991).The following figure (2.2) adapted from Skutnabb-kangas and Toukoma (1977), in Appel and Muysken (1987), and Hoffman, (1991), shows diagrammatic representation of the threshold hypothesis and cognitive effects of different types of bilingualism.

Baker's (1988) representation of the threshold hypothesis provides us with a little more information than the original model. He shows language competence separately for each language, and he specifies the threshold levels by reference to an assumed "age-appropriate" norm. So, within each of the three levels, one could represent an individual's bilingualism by indicating his or her language proficiency in L1 and L2 on the rungs (Figure 2.8). This may be conceived pictorially as simultaneously climbing two ladders which represent language competence or proficiency (Figure 2.8). If two few steps are climbed, the child stays somewhere in the lower level. At this level, there are potential negative cognitive effects. The first threshold is reached when a child has age-appropriate proficiency in one language. The second threshold is reached when a child is relatively balanced and proficient in both languages.

2.5. Bilingualism and Language Acquisition

The topic of bilingualism has aroused considerable interest in language acquisition research in recent decades. Linguists, psychologists and sociologists have investigated bilingual populations from different perspectives in order to understand how bilingualism affects cognitive abilities like memory and meta-lingual awareness in line with the general upsurge in related studies of bilingual children. Bialystok (2001) primarily focusing on the preschool years presents a summary of theories on first language acquisition linking different linguistic elements such as lexical, phonological, morphological, and syntactical systems, and pragmatics.

Even since Chomsky (1965) began to develop the theory of linguistic universals, researchers have been interested in human biological endowments that enable us to discover the framework of principles and elements common to attainable human languages. Formal theories of language developed by these researchers are concerned with an analysis of the abstract underlying structure of language. Those who propose different paradigms for understanding language acquisition, however, insist that environmental influence on language development should not be overlooked more specifically. While the formal Chomeskyan (nativist) approaches take the position that language is relatively independent of other cognitive domains, the functional (empiricist) approaches rather claim that the interplay between domain-general cognitive/learning mechanisms and the environment accounts for language development.

Functional theories are essentially concerned with semantics and pragmatics. Bialystok states: "In studies of second language acquisition, the predominant view is the (formal) generative approach, even though the most interesting implications for second language acquisition and bilingualism come from the functionalist perspectives". Bialystok takes the functionalist position, while acknowledging that both approaches to the study of language acquisition co-exist in language studies (Lewis et al., 2002).

Bialystok further extends her theoretical discussion of first language acquisition to the area of second language acquisition. This transition is not surprising. The author follows the conventional question of whether the examination of the theories developed in the area of first language acquisition are applicable to the phenomena observed in second language acquisition. Again, while not entirely ignoring the Chomeskyan (or linguistically based) formalist paradigm of the nature of language acquisition, the author formulates her ideas opting for the functionalist position of language acquisition. The author's inclination is particularly evident when she re-examines the long-debated issue of the critical period hypothesis, the theory claiming that there is a period in child development during which language can be acquired more easily than at any other time. As can easily be inferred from the fact that the critical period hypothesis is often associated with Lenneberg (1967), who worked with Chomsky, the effect of a critical period on age-related differences in the ability to master a second language has been argued by those who support formalist theories. This is partly because the child's language environment does not provide the variety needed for producing all kinds of sentences.

Referring to what Newport called the "less is more" hypothesis (i.e. compared to older learners' analytic approaches to a second language, young children's more passive approach would be more successful), Bialystok argues that cognitive change should be regulated as the crucial element in an individual's declining ability to acquire language. In this way, Bialystok once again emphasizes her view that domain-general cognitive mechanisms, such as working memory and the individual's interaction with the environment, play an especially important role in language acquisition. Bilingual children's superiority in cognitive flexibility is reported by Viberg (2001) in terms of book reading activities in which the bilingual children had a tendency to give more detailed and concrete versions in both languages than monolingual children, who tended to provide more condensed versions.

As researchers, we should not blindly believe that being bilingual is advantageous in all areas of cognitive development. Or, more generally, rather than simply believing that bilinguals have an advantage over monolinguals or vice versa, it is meaningful to understand in what kinds of cognitive domains we can identify bilingual advantage (and this eventually leads to the discussion of the efficiency of bilingual education programs). The researchers have found a relationship between young children's oral language acquisition and the later years of their language skills development. We are aware that a strong connection exists between learning to talk and learning to read and write, and we also know that language-studies- studies on first-language acquisition in particular- have suggested that acquiring language skills is a process interwoven with the intricacies of the continuum of oral language and literacy. Although considerable language skills differ from literacy-related skills in some respects, children grasp considerable literacy-related knowledge even as they acquire language (Christian, 1994).

Bilingual children are no exception, but the questions, surrounding bilingual children are fairly complex, from the relatively academic question of whether first- and second-language proficiencies (e.g. lexicon, syntax) are independent or interdependent to the more practical question of whether raising children as monolinguals or bilinguals is desirable for promoting their school success. That is, one of the critical research questions is whether bilinguals possess relatively separate linguistic rule systems for the two languages or there is a common underlying rule system in a bilingual's mind. Verhoeven (1994) identified the effect of the first language on the second language in literacy, vocabulary, and language fluency, but not in morphology and syntax.

High levels of bilingualism are correlated with higher achievement in a great number of areas, such as the ability to read and write and the ability to think about language (i.e. meta-linguistic awareness). Minami (2001) has found that increasing language ability in either language (English or Japans) used by bilingual children can accelerate their progress in other language as well. However, while, we should not forget the part played in this success by both the relatively high practical value of the Japanese language and the instrumental benefits associated with high proficiency in that language, particularly on the U.S West coast (where knowledge of Japanese is useful for future careers). It is sometimes claimed that research does not support the efficiency of bilingual education. It's harshest critics, however (e.g. Rossell & Baker, 1966), do not claim that bilingual education does not work; instead, they claim there is little evidence that it is superior to all English programs. Nevertheless, the evidence used against bilingual education is not convincing. One major problem is in labeling. Several critics, for example, have claimed that English immersion programs in El Paso and McAllen, Texas, were shown to be superior to bilingual education. In each case, however, programs labeled immersion were really bilingual education, with a substantial part of the day taught in the primary language.

In another study, German (1985) claimed that all-English immersion was better than bilingual education. However, the sample size was small and the duration of the study was short. Also, no descriptions of "bilingual education" were provided. For a detailed discussion, see Krashen (1996). On the other hand, a vast number of other studies have shown that bilingual education is effective, with children in well-designated programs acquiring academic English at least as well and often better than children in all English programs (Cummins, 1989; Krashen, 1996; Willing, 1985). Wiling concluded that the better the experimental design of the study, the more positive were the effects of bilingual education.

Weinreich (1967), Cummins (1979), and Grosjean (1982) held the view that bilingualism contributed to language learning aptitude and the learning of more languages.

Having carried out a rigorously controlled study, Eisentein (1980) found that bilingualism had a positive effect on foreign language learning ability of bilinguals when they become adults. She reported:

“All significant findings point towards the conclusion that bilingualism in childhood is indeed a positive factor in adult second language aptitude. Learning several different languages in childhood appears to have a cumulative positive effect. Also bilingualism and language learning aptitude seem to correlate. With the view of the individual that speaking a foreign language is an asset” (Eisenstein, 1980, p. 189).

2.6. Bilingual Education

Bilingual education continues to be criticisized in the national media. When schools provide children with quality education in their primary language, they give them two things, knowledge and literacy. The knowledge that children get through their first language helps make the English they hear and read more comprehensible. Literacy developed in the primary language transfers to the second language. The reason is simple: Because we learn to read by reading -that is, by making sense of what is on the page (Smith, 1994). It is easier to learn to read in a language we understand.

Once we can read in on language, we can read in general. A common argument against bilingual education is the observation that many people have success without it. This has certainly happened. In these cases, however, the successful person got plenty of comprehensible input in the second language, and in many cases had a de facto bilingual education program. For example, Rodriguez (1982) and de la Pena (1991) are often cited as counter-evidence to bilingual education. Hamers and Baker (1983); Cummins and Swain (1986); Appel and Muysken (1987); Baker (1988); and Williams and Snipper (1990) have suggested the following four major models for bilingual education:

2.6.1 Submersion Programs

Submersion means being educated totally in the second language, without any instruction in the mother tongue. In this type of education minority children are schooled completely through the majority language, and no immersion facilities like a bilingual teacher are provided (Appel and Muysken, 1987). In submersion education, the children's first language is neglected totally, and the only provisions made consist of extra second language courses in the majority language. According to Swain (1978c), submersion refers to the situation encountered by some children wherein they must make a home – second language, while others can already function in the school language (cited in Cummins and Swain, 1986).

This is also called "sink- or - swim" model (Rossell and Baker, 1996); that is, submersion programs contain the idea of non-swimmer being thrown in at the deep end of a swimming pool, amongst fluent swimmers. In submersion program, all children regardless of their language proficiency or their background should be placed in mainstream classes together and taught only in the mainstream language. In the early years of the twentieth century, children of foreign-born parentage accounted for a high percentage of school population in the United States. Effort was made to assimilate these minority-group children into the mainstream of English-speaking culture and one of the major tools of assimilation was giving instructions in English. Submersion program can result in the children's gradually switching to almost exclusive use of the valued language, their second language, while retaining only sufficient aural-oral ability in their first to maintain essential contact with monolinguals in their family or community circle.

This has been the experience of many children of immigrant groups. In some cases, submerged children may become discouraged and dropout of school early, because they do not have any expectation of success in the majority culture. The problems of these children can be alleviated by special classes where they are taught fluent use of the majority language in both oral and written form, before they are dispersed among native speakers of that language (Rivers, 1986).

2.6.2. Immersion Programs

Immersion is defined as a method of foreign language instruction in which the regular school curriculum is taught through the medium of the language. The foreign language is the vehicle for content instruction; it is not the subject of instruction. Total immersion is one program format among several that range on a continuum in terms of the time spent in the foreign language. In total immersion, schooling in the initial years is conducted in the foreign language, including reading and language arts. Partial immersion differs from total in that 50% of the school day is conducted in English right from the start. In partial immersion, reading and language arts are always taught in English. Beyond that, the choice of subjects taught in each language is a local decision.

The long-range goals of an immersion program include:

(1) developing a high level of proficiency in the foreign language;
(2) developing positive attitudes towards those who speak the foreign language and toward their culture;
(3) developing English language skills commensurate with expectations for student's age and abilities;
(4) gaining skills and knowledge in the content areas of the curriculum keeping with stated objectives in these areas.

Since 1991, the center for Applied Linguistics has monitored the growth of two-way immersion (TWI) programs in the United States. TWI programs integrate language-minority and language-majority students for all or most of the school day and strive to promote bilingualism and bilinguality in addition to grad level academic achievement for all students (Christian, 1994). Programs listed in the Directory conform to this general definition of TWI through adherence to the following criteria:

1) language-minority and language-majority students are integrated for at least 50% of the day at all grade levels;

2)content and literacy instruction in both languages are provided to all students, and 3)language-minority and language-majority students are balanced, with each group making up one third or two thirds of the total student population.

2.6.3. Transitional (or Assimilationist) programs

In the transitional bilingual education, the student is taught to read and write in the native tongue, and subject matter is also taught in the native tongue. The second language is initially taught for only a small portion of the day. As the child progresses in the second language, the amount of instruction time in the native tongue is related and the second language increases, until the student is proficient enough in the second language to join the regular instructional program (Rossell & Baker, 1996). The minority language is mainly used in the early grades, since its most important function is to bridge the gap between the home and school. In fact, the minority language is only used in school to make it easier for the child to adjust to existing educational demands (Appel & Muysken, 1987).

To help minority group children to gain proficiency and fluency in the target language and to overcome language barrier, instruction in the mother tongue is considered an indispensable necessary first step. Transitional programs are designed in such a way that at every stages only native language is used as the medium of instruction. The transition is often delayed until learners feel ready for that experience. According to McNamara (1974), the minority language is seen as a disease from which the child must be cured. Such programs do not affect the school as an institution representing a society which considers itself monolingual. Bilingualism is not really encouraged, especially as in most cases facilities for prolonged minority language teaching as a subject are lacking. Cziko and Troike (1984) claim that most transitional programs accomplish assimilation through "human linguicide" of the minority languages.

They can be contrasted with monolingual majority programs which lead to "brutal assimilations" of minority children (Appel & Muysken, 1987:65). Although this approach has widely been supported, there are some problems which make its success questionable. In monolingual communities where there is not only one major ethno-linguistic minority group and children have different language backgrounds; the implementation of this approach seems difficult. Also, some of the immigrant groups have come from backgrounds with little or no tradition of formal education. Another problem which can be added is the difficulty of finding qualified teachers with different linguistic backgrounds to meet the needs of classes with children of diverse languages. Dialect diversity within languages also adds to the existing problems. Transitional education has lost a great deal of its earlier popularity, but it is still regarded as an important educational program where children with a common ethnic background and languages are found (Howard, 2003).

2.6.4. Maintenance (or Pluralistic) programs

The major assumption in a maintenance bilingual program is that bilingualism is a very valuable asset (Williams & Snipper, 1990). Language is viewed as encompassing not only communication but heritage, culture and feelings. As such, maintaining the native language has an affective dimension, that of enhancing language-minority students’ self-concepts and pride in their cultural background. It also assumes there are benefits to be found in developing and maintaining majority languages, not only for those who speak them but for the society as a whole.

The minority language in itself is not considered a problem, but rather societal attitudes towards the minority languages related to the socio-economic position of the minority group (Apple & Muysken, 1987). In this view, the minority language has a value of its own and is as important as the majority language. Therefore, it is not only used as an initial medium of instruction for the minority group but also in late classes. The minority language occupies a more important position in the curriculum than the majority language, because the weakest language, which has only low prestige outside school, must be supported most strongly. Therefore, the model is sometimes also called a "language shelter model" (Appel & Muysken, 1987). Maintenance programs are concerned with pluralism, enrichment, language restoration, and biculturalism. Examples are to be found in Canada and Wales, where English speakers are taught French or Welsh to enable them to be fully bilingual (Baker, 1988).

Generally, proponents of maintenance envision a time where America will be truly pluralistic society that practices what may be taught of as a linguistic egalitarianism (Mackey & Beebe, 1977; Ramirez & Castaneda; 1974; Padilla & Liebman, 1982). A few go further and advocate policies that would actively transform our largely monolingual society into a multilingual one by offering foreign language instruction to all mainstream English speakers (Cummins, 1988). In this view, multilingualism functions to enrich the quality of life, so native English speakers would have much to gain by mastering another language (William & Snipper, 1990) However, Milan (1982) believes that bilingual education will be enriching only if mainstream is eager to learn mother language (Cited in Williams & Snipper, 1990).

Theoretically, multilingualism has potential benefits, because minority languages gain status and prestige. Fishman (1976), claims that a policy of multilingualism would give a sense of ethnic legitimacy to the minority-language child and a sense of enrichment to the majority-language child.

While the proponents see the maintenance approach as an outcome of democracy and a social right of minority group, the opponents believe that it leads to political instability and it is a threat to national unity. Language is indeed important in defining both a personal and a national identity, and it is difficult for most people to avoid feeling a strong sense of linguistic chauvinism regarding the language they grow up with (Hudson, 1980; Tradgill, 1974), It, therefore, exerts significant pressures usually socio-economic, to motivate people to master a second language (Williams & Snipper, 1990).

Rossell and Baker (1996) believe that "although bilingual maintenance programs enjoy a great deal of support from the intellectual, community they are not implemented widely because they do not enjoy political support from the state and federal legislatures that fund bilingual education".

2.7. Pronunciation Proficiency

One of the key requirements for language proficiency is to secure understandable pronunciation for the language learners. Fraser (2000) stated that ESL/EFL teachers need to be provided with courses and materials to help them improve their effectiveness in teaching pronunciation. She adds that there is also a need for high quality, effective materials, especially computer-based materials with audio demonstrations, for learners of ESL/EFL pronunciation, both for self-access and for use in classes where the teacher needs support of this kind. She also concluded that research in second language education should not be concerned with the importance of teaching pronunciation but with the methodology of teaching pronunciation (Fraser, 2000). Both teachers and learners must change roles and teaching methodologies must change objectives. Teachers must act as ―pronunciation coaches and learners must be proactive learners taking the initiative to learn. The methodologies of teaching must change from emphasizing segmental elements of pronunciation to supra-segmental elements of pronunciation and from linguistic competence to communicative competence (Morley, 1991).

Pronunciation is an integral part of foreign language learning since it directly affects learners' communicative competence as well as performance. Limited pronunciation skills can decrease the learners’ self-confidence, restrict social interactions, and negatively affect estimations of a speaker’s credibility and abilities.

One of the primary goals of teaching pronunciation in any course is intelligible pronunciation not perfect pronunciation. Intelligible pronunciation is an essential component of communicative competence (Morley, 1991). The attainment of perfect pronunciation should no longer be the objective. Instead, Morley calls for setting more realistic goals that are reasonable, applicable and suitable for the communication needs of the learner. To her, the learner needs to develop functional intelligibility (ability to make oneself relatively easily understood), functional communicability (ability to meet the communication needs one faces), increased self-confidence, and the speech monitoring abilities and speech modification strategies. Therefore, it is vital that students learning English for international communication learn to speak it as intelligibly and comprehensibly as possible – not necessarily like natives, but well enough to be understood (Morley, 1991).

It is equally important that they learn to understand it when spoken by people with different accents speaking in natural conditions. In this respect, and as Rajadurai (2001) suggests, part of the underlying philosophy of including listening and speaking courses in any syllabus is to teach pronunciation as an integral part of oral communication. The rationale is that it is counterproductive to remove pronunciation from communication and other aspects of language use.

2.7.1. Features Involved in English Pronunciation

As English increasingly becomes the language used for international communication, it is vital that speakers of English, whether they are native or non-native speakers, are able to exchange meaning effectively. In fact, in recent discussions of English-language teaching, the unrealistic idea that learners should speak like native speakers is fast disappearing (Burns, 2003). According to Burns (2003), it is more important that speakers of English can achieve: • Intelligibility (the speaker produces sound patterns that are recognizable as English) • Comprehensibility (the listener is able to understand the meaning of what is said) • Interpretability (the listener is able to understand the purpose of what is said). For example, a speaker might say “It’s hot today” as “It’s hot day”. This is unlikely to be intelligible because of inaccurate sound, stress and intonation patterns. As a result, a listener would not find the speaker comprehensible, because meaning is not available. Because the speaker is incomprehensible, the listener would also not be able to interpret the utterance as an indirect request to open the window. Clear pronunciation is essential in spoken communication. Even where learners produce minor inaccuracies in vocabulary and grammar, they are more likely to communicate effectively when they have good pronunciation and intonation (Burns, 2003). The various features that make up the production of sounds in English are illustrated in Figure 2. 3.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2.3. Various features of English pronunciation

As the figure above illustrates, pronunciation involves features at:

• The segmental (micro) level
• The supra-segmental (macro) level.

In former ESL approaches, segmental features were the major focus for pronunciation teaching (for example, minimal pairs such as ship/sheep). While these features are important, more recent research has shown that when teaching focuses on supra-segmental features, learners’ intelligibility is greatly enhanced. It is important, therefore, to provide activities at both levels (Burns, 2003).

2.7.2. Factors Affecting the Learning of English Pronunciation

2.7.2.1. Attitude: It seems as though some learners are more adept at acquiring good pronunciation. Even within one homogenous classroom, there is often a large discrepancy among the pronunciation ability of the students. This phenomenon has led many researchers to study the personal characteristics of the learners that contribute to their success in foreign language acquisition. In a study on pronunciation accuracy of university students studying intermediate Spanish as a foreign language, Elliot (1995) found that subjects’ attitude toward acquiring native or near-native pronunciation as measured by the Pronunciation Attitude Inventory (PAI) was the principal variable in relation to target language pronunciation. In other words, if the students were more concerned about their pronunciation of the target language, they tended to have better pronunciation of the target allophones (Elliot, 1995). This study echoed earlier research done by Suter (1976), which found that students who were more concerned about their pronunciation (p. 249) had better pronunciation of English as a Second Language (Elliot, 1995). When discussing the attitude of the second language learners in relation to their pronunciation and second language acquisition, it is necessary to note the work done by Schumann (1986) on acculturation and its role in the process of language learning. His acculturation model defines that learners will acquire the target language to the degree that they acculturate (Celce-Murcia et al., 1996). According to Schumann, acculturation refers to a learner’s openness to a target culture as well as a desire to be socially integrated in the target culture. His research (1976, 1986) on acculturation examines the social and psychological integration of immigrant students as a predictor of the amount of English language they acquire and use (Tong, 2000).

Schumann maintains that the acquisition and use of English is a measure of the degree to which students have become acculturated to the host culture. Acculturation, according to Schumann (1986), refers to the social and psychological contact between members of a particular group and members of the target culture. The more interaction (i.e. social/psychological closeness) a group has with the target group, the more opportunities will result for the group to acquire and use English. Conversely, less interaction (i.e. social/psychological distance) results in less acquisition and use of English. The group's amount of contact with the target culture has an effect on the amount of English acquired and used. Sparks and Glachow’s work (1991) on personality found similar results. They state that students with motivation to learn with positive attitudes towards the target language and its speakers were more successful than were students with less positive attitudes. They refer to Gardner and Lambert’s research on motivation wherein two types are highlighted. The first type of motivation is instrumental, which is a motivation to learn the L2 for the value of linguistic achievement. The second type is integrative motivation, which describes the desire to continue learning about the second language culture. According to Gardner and Lambert, students with integrative motivation would be expected to work harder to develop communication skills in the second language because they are more likely than their less interested counterparts to seek out native speakers of the language.

2.7.2.2. Motivation and Exposure: Along with age at the acquisition of a language, the learner’s motivation for learning the language and the cultural group that the learner identifies and spends time determine whether the learner will develop native-like pronunciation. Research has found that having a personal or professional goal for learning English can influence the need and desire for native-like pronunciation (Marinova-Todd et al., 2000; Masgoret & Gardner, 2003; Bernaus, Masgoret, Gardner, & Reyes, 2004; Gatbonton et al., 2005). The review by Marinova- Todd et al. (2000) on adult acquisition of English language concluded that adults can become highly proficient, even native-like speakers of second languages, especially if motivated to do so. Moyer (2007) found that experience with and positive orientation to the language appear to be important factors in developing native-like pronunciation. In a study of learner of Spanish, Shively (2008) found that accuracy in the production of Spanish is significantly related to age at first exposure to the language, amount of formal instruction in Spanish, residence in a Spanish-speaking country, amount of out-of-class contact with Spanish, and focus on pronunciation in class. Therefore, in addition to focusing on pronunciation and accent in class, teachers should encourage learners to speak English outside the classroom and provide them with assignments that structure those interactions.

2.7.2.3. Foreign language Instruction: Instruction generally focuses on four main areas of development: listening, speaking reading and writing. Foreign language curricula emphasize pronunciation in the first year of study as it introduces the target language’s alphabet and sound system, but rarely continues this focus past the introductory level. Pennington (1994) maintains that pronunciation which is typically viewed as a component of linguistic rather than conversational fluency is often regarded with little importance in a communicatively oriented classroom. According to Elliot (1995), teachers tend to view pronunciation as the least useful of the basic language skills and, therefore, they generally sacrifice teaching pronunciation in order to spend valuable class time on other areas of language. Or maybe, teachers feel justified neglecting pronunciation, believing that for adult foreign language learners, it is more difficult to attain target language pronunciation skills than other facets of second language acquisition. Teachers just do not have the background or tools to properly teach pronunciation and, therefore, it is disregarded (Elliot, 1995). Teachers have taught what they thought was pronunciation via repetition drills on both a discrete word or phrase level, or give the students the rules of pronunciation like the vowel in a CVC pattern, when given an e at the end, says its name. For example, when an [e] is added to the word bit (CVC) the pronunciation of the short /i/ becomes long and therefore says its name. This type of instruction is meant to help students with decoding words for the purpose of reading rather than pronunciation.

For example, students are rarely given information about the differences between fricatives and non-fricative continuants, or the subtleties between the trilled or flapped /r/ between Spanish and English (Elliot, 1995). This particular information is often left up to the students to attain on their own. Researchers have explored the question of whether explicit instruction helps these second language learners. Such studies have generated inconsistent results. Suter (1976) reported a non-sihnificant relationship between formal pronunciation and students’ pronunciation of English as a Second Language (Elliot, 1995). Murakawa (1981) found that, by 12 weeks of phonetic instruction, adult L2 learners of English can improve their allophonic articulation (Elliot, 1995). Nuefield and Scheiderman (1980) reported that adults are able to achieve near native fluency and it can be developed in a relatively short time without serious disruption to the second language teaching program with adequate pronunciation instruction (Elliot, 1995). It is necessary to note at this point that even though there seems to be quite a controversy in the results presented, the diversity of those results may be due to the differing designs of the particular experiments.

Some pronunciation studies focus specifically on the instruction of supra-segmental. Derwing, Munro and Wiebe (1997) conducted research in which ESL learners who had been studying for an average of ten years, participated in a speaking improvement course that focused on the supra-segmental features of pronunciation (e.g. stress, rhythm, intonation). Thirty-seven native listeners transcribed speech samples (true/false sentences) taken at the beginning of a 12-week course in order to assess the learners’ intelligibility. Each sample was rated in order of comprehensibility. At the end, there was a significant improvement in the intelligibility, and better ratings over time of comprehensibility. They showed that 30 language learners could alter their pronunciation in a reading task (Derwing & Rossiter, 2003).

2.7.2.4. Exposure to Target Language: When we speak of the exposure that a learner has to the target language, it may come in the form of their current day-to-day life as well as the amount of prior instruction a learner received in the target language. According to the language learning theories, learners acquire language primarily from the input they receive and they must receive large amounts of comprehensible input before they are required to speak. Adult learners may have little opportunity to be in exposure of the native target language input. However, children who are possibly in English-speaking schools for hours during the day, their adult counterparts are likely to live and work in what these theorists call linguistic ghettos where they again have little meaningful exposure to the target language, thus inhibiting their acquisition. Learning a new language and speaking it is especially difficult for foreign language learners because effective oral communication requires the ability to use the language appropriately in a variety of interactions (Shumin, 1997).

Verbal communication also affects the supra-segmental features of speech such as pitch, stress and intonation. Such features are often not learned from reading a textbook or dictionary. Beyond the supra-segmental features, are the non-linguistic elements involved in language such as gestures, body language, and facial expressions that carry so much meaning yet are not learned through explicit instruction, but rather through sheer experience in a language and culture. Due to minimal exposure to the target language and contact with native speakers, adult English language learners often do not acquire a native-like level of pronunciation, regarding fluency, control of idiomatic expressions and cultural pragmatics (gestures, body language, and facial expressions) (Shumin, 1997).

2.8. Research conducted on bilingualism and pronunciation proficiency achievement

Bilingualism is one of the controversial issues and much research has been conducted to find its effects on individual's linguistic development, cognitive development, educational attainment, and intelligence.

From the early nineteenth century to approximately the 1960s, the common belief among educational researchers and writers was that bilingualism had a detrimental effect on linguistic and intellectual skills, etc. Pintner (1922) and Keller (1922) were among those who supported the idea that bilinguals suffered from a linguistic handicap (cited in Mclaughin 1978). Travis, Johnson, and Shover (1937) believe that bilingual children have more speech problems than monolinguals. They also believe that compared with bilinguals, monolinguals have fewer stutters (cited in Taylor, 1976). Several studies showed that bilingualism had a negative effect on intellectual development (Rigg, 1968; Mitchell, 1937; Seidl, 1937; Smith, 1939, all cited in Mclaughin, 1978).

According to these and some other researchers, bilingual children had to think in one language and talk in another; as a result, they become mentally confused and uncertain. In addition, bilingualism is a mental burden causing them to suffer mental fatigue. They are handicapped on intelligence tests, especially those demanding language facilities (cited in Mclaughin, 1978). Even in some later studies, researchers such as Torrance et al (1972), Keldman and Shen (1971), Tashima and Hogan (1975), and Palmer (1972) pointed to the negative effect of bilingualism on bilinguals cognition (cited in Baker; 1988). Laurie (1980) suggests that "A bilingual child's intellectual and spiritual growth would not thereby be doubled but halved" (cited in Baker, 1988, p. 87).

The ability to speak two languages is often seen as a remarkable achievement particularly in English speaking countries. Since 70% of the world’s population is thought to be bilingual or multilingual (Trask 1999), there is good a reason to believe that bilingualism is the norm for the majority of people in the world.

The specificity of bilingualism lies in the interdisciplinary approaches at the frontier of social sciences, humanities, and medical sciences and in the strong relationship with the societal environment. The verbal behavior is linked to the economic, historical, political, psychological, educational, and linguistic factors. Thus, the scientific regard on bilingualism is manifold and depends on the specific background and methodology of the scientist. The psychologist will study the influence of motivation, attitude and cognitive development, the social scientist will focus on identity, role and social group, the linguist will analyze cross-linguistic semantics and syntactic, and the educational researcher will evaluate the output of bilingual programs (Schöpfel, 2008).

The use and status of languages affect bilingual learning and educational outcomes for bilingual people. It is commonly considered that majority and elite languages such as English and French will add to a person’s skill base. This is viewed as additive bilingualism. On the other hand, it is commonly believed that when a person uses or learns a minority or non-elite language (such as Balouchi in Iran), this skill will not be seen as an advantage. In this case, a subtractive assessment is made of bilingualism (May, & McChomish, 2008). Bilinguals learning in subtractive contexts have often experienced reduced educational success (as Pasifika speaking pupils have in New Zealand). Earlier research that did not take the context into account seems to indicate that it was an educational disadvantage to persist with developing a minority language (Franken et al., 2008).

Contrary to these claims, some research studies in the 1970s and 1980s demonstrated that bilingualism positively influences the child’s cognitive and social development (Ben-Zeev, 1977; Bialystock, 1986; Cummins, 1976; Diaz, 1985; Feldman & Shen, 1971; Ianco- Worall, 1972; Segalowitz, 1977). These studies indicated that bilinguals have a more enhanced awareness of the arbitrary relationship between words and their referents and superior meta-linguistic skills. Viewing bilinguality in the framework of meta-linguistic awareness, Segalowitz (1977) suggests that the internalization of two languages rather than one will result in a more complex, better equipped mental calculus enabling the child to alternate between two systems of rules in the manipulation of symbols. Further, Bialystok (2004) hypothesized that bilingual children have an advantage over monolinguals in their control of the linguistic processing needed for metalinguistic problems.

Research suggests that if bilingual children have a reasonable degree of balance between their two languages, their overall intellectual development is not hindered. On the contrary, it is enhanced (Baker, 2006; Cummins, 2000; Gracia, 2009; Hornberger, 2006; May, 2010; Skerret-White, 2003). Research in New Zealand shows that there are many benefits to speaking more than one language, including the ability to think more creatively and laterally, an appreciation of differing world’s views, a stronger sense of self and cultural identity, and capacity to participate in more than one culture(May, 2010).

A recent study with regard to bilingual children and education in early childhood shows that children who had already acquired a vocabulary in each of their languages and gained some experience in switching between them enjoy cognitive and social advantages over monolinguals (Skerret & Gunn, 2011). Flora’s (2010) finding that bilingual children are able, from an early age, to differentiate between their two linguistic systems is significant. According to him (2010), “Bilinguals are better at learning additional languages, even if those languages bear little resemblance to the ones they have already known’’. (p. 78-79)

According to Gracia (2009), bilingual education is the only way to educate children in the 21st century. It is inclusive in its pluralistic vision and re-conceptualizing the understanding about language and bilingualism. It transforms the lives of children and adults throughout the world. She argues that socio-historical positioning, geopolitical forces, and language ideologies all interact to sustain different kinds of bilingual education policies in different places around the world.

Many researchers have also found that bilingualism has a positive effect on foreign language achievement (Cummins 1979; Eisentein, 1980; Hoffman, 2001; Bialystok, Craik, Klein, & Viswanathan, 2004; Bialystok & Martin, 2004; Mechelli et al., 2004; Lerea & Laporta, 1971; Ringbom, 1985 ; Sanz, 2000; Thomas, 1988 ;Valencia & Cenoz, 1992 ;Zobl, 1993 ). Eisenstein (1980) for instance found that childhood bilinguality had a positive effect on adult aptitude for learning a foreign language. That is, those who learned a second language during childhood would have a greater success in learning foreign languages as adults. Thomas (1988) also compared the acquisition of college French by English monolinguals and English-Spanish bilinguals. Her study yielded striking differences between the two groups, with the bilinguals outperforming the monolinguals. She concluded that Bilinguals learning a third language seem to have developed a sensitivity to language as a system which helps them perform better on those activities usually associated with formal language learning than monolinguals learning a foreign language for the first time.(Thomas, 1988, p.240)

Mixing results of studies on the consequences of bilinguality caused some scholars to conduct experiments with more controlled variables. The findings of some of these studies led to a neutral attitude toward bilingualism. In their studies, Barik and Swain (1978) and Lambert and Tucker (1972) examined the performance of larger samples controlled for sex and age and found no significant difference between monolinguals and bilinguals in terms of their intelligence, mental development and school achievements. More recently Nayak et al.(1990), comparing the acquisition of an artificial grammar by monolingual, bilingual and multilingual students, reported that although the multilinguals showed superior performance under certain conditions, they generally showed no clear evidence that they were superior in language learning abilities (1990, p.221). Magiste (1984) reported an investigation by Balke-Aurell and Lindbad (1982) on the differences between monolingual and bilingual immigrants of varied L1s with Swedish as L2 in learning English as a foreign language. The results showed no difference between the bilinguals and monolinguals in standardized tests of English comprehension and grammar performance.

One of the most fundamental assumptions underlying the efficiency of bilingual instruction is that skills and knowledge learned in L1 transfer to L2 (Goldman et al., 1984; Malakoff, 1988). Thus a child learning about velocity in Spanish, for example, should be able to transfer this knowledge to English without having to relearn the concepts as long as the relevant vocabulary (in L2) is available. Having the content knowledge or more specifically the similar sounds already available in L1 seems to greatly facilitate the learning of the appropriate pronunciation in L2.

The notion of transfer of skills is supported by research in cognitive science where attempts are made to look for representational schemas for complex narratives in two languages. For example, Goldman et al. (1984) showed that bilingual children employ similar comprehension strategies when listening to Aesop’s fables in two languages, providing indirect evidence that higher-order cognitive processes manifest themselves regardless of the specific language. Malakoff (1988) also found similarity in performance on analogical reasoning in French English bilingual children in Switzerland. Additionally, research on adult bilingual memory for lists of words suggests that the particular language of presentation of specific words can be remembered under some conditions (Hamers & Blanc, 1989). In essence, in the act of learning concepts and skills, people form a schema that is independent of the specific language of presentation, even though the act of learning can involve active recruitment of the language to regulate thinking.

Given that skills do transfer across languages, it is possible to think about transfer as occurring on a specific skill by skill componential basis, or, more globally, where the entire structure of skills in a domain transfers as a whole.

With regard to vocabulary learning, most words in both first and second languages are probably learned incidentally through extensive reading and listening (Nagy et al., 1985).Several recent studies have confirmed that incidental L2 vocabulary learning through reading does occur(Chun & Plass, 1966; Day et al., 1991; Huistijn et al., 1996; Knight, 1994 ;Zimmerman, 1997).

While incidental learning of vocabulary may eventually account for a good majority of advanced learners’ vocabulary, intentional learning through instruction also significantly contributes to pronunciation development (Nation, 1990; Paribakht & Wesche, 1996; Zimmerman, 1997). Explicit instruction is particularly essential for monolinguals whose lack of vocabulary_ the existing English word in bilinguals’ L1_ limits their pronunciation ability.

Genesee (2000) argues that bilingual infants hear each language as different melody and that different language may be as distinct for infants as different songs. The distinctiveness of such prosodic "melodies" in communicating effective messages to infants within a single language has been noted by other investigators. For example Baker (2000) stated children are born ready to become bilinguals and multilingual. They are like “sponges”, as they sponges-up all languages provided by their environment and chances to interact with people of different language backgrounds. They would pick-up any language without endangering their own first language development.

Keshavarz (2004) investigated the impact of bilinguality on the learning of English vocabulary as a foreign language. This study aimed at comparing the performance of two bilingual groups of EFL students with that of a monolingual group on a controlled productive ability vocabulary test. Altogether 30 Turkish-Persian bilinguals, 30 Armenian-Persian bilinguals, and 30 Persian monolinguals participated in the study. The subjects in all the three groups were homogenoeous in terms of age (17–18 years old), sex (they were all female), nationality (they were all Iranian), and level of instruction (intermediate). The results of the data analyses showed that native speakers of Turkish and Armenian who speak Persian as their second language performed better in the English vocabulary test than the Persian monolingual learners of English. This can be attributed to the positive effect of the subjects’ bilinguality on their third language vocabulary achievement. The study also revealed that in the area of vocabulary production and achievement the Armenian-Persian bilinguals who had learned their first and second languages both academically and orally were more successful than the Turkish-Persian bilinguals who had learned their first language only orally. The results are interpreted to have implications for EFL methodologists and syllabus designers.

Yusuf (2009) studied the infant bilingual acquisition. For this research, a descriptive method was used. The data collected were words that she could utter and understand in English, Acehnese, and Bahasa Indonesia. Besides collecting the data, observations were also done to analyze her bilingualism development. His results showed that bilingualism provides advantages towards an individual’s development and cognitive growth such as communication advantages, cultural advantages, cognitive advantages, character advantages and curriculum advantages.

Grace (2000) studied pronunciation proficiency in the first and second languages of Korean–English bilinguals. He examined pronunciation proficiency in both the first (Korean) and second (English) languages of bilinguals. The participants were adult immigrants whose age of arrival in the USA ranged from 1–23 years. English and Korean sentences were rated by native listeners to obtain measures of pronunciation proficiency. Overall, the results were more consistent with the view that deviations from native pronunciation result from interactions between the languages of bilinguals rather than with the view of a maturationally defined critical period for language learning.

Pourhosein (2012) investigated factors affecting EFL learners' English pronunciation learning and the strategies for instruction. The aim of this study was to identify the features of pronunciation, explain factors affecting the learning of pronunciation, elaborate the integration of pronunciation into the curriculum, and discuss the strategies for teaching pronunciation that can help EFL learners meet their personal and professional needs. Review of the literature shows that with careful preparation and integration, pronunciation can play a significant role in supporting the learners’ overall communicative skill.

Chapter Three Design and Methodology

3.0. Overview

In the preceding chapters, the topic was introduced and the relevant literature was reviewed. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the methodology employed in this study. To this aim, first, participants of the study and their sampling method are introduced. Then, different parts of the study are demonstrated. Finally, the procedure of the study and method of data analysis are described.

3.1. Participants

A convenience sample consisting of 60 Iranian male pre-intermediate EFL learners with an age range of 17 to 23 participated in this study. They were the students who had attended English classes at two different English teaching institutions for at least 3 terms containing 12 hours per week. The whole sample was divided into a couple of groups, i.e. 30 bilinguals from Louranica English Teaching Institution in Jask ,who use their mother tongue(Balouchi) in the local and informal communications and Persian_as a second language_ in the official communications, and 30 monolinguals from pre-intermediate EFL learners of Niavaran Foreign Language institute in Kerman using only Persian in all of their communication and conversations. Both groups of the participants were Iranian pre-intermediate EFL learners of different cultural background and attitudes.

3.2. Instrument

The instruments used in the present study were a proficiency test, an observational comparative experiment, a reading task, an oral pronunciation task, and an audio-written pronunciation test. Each of these is described below.

3.2.1. Proficiency Test

A reliable and valid proficiency test was administered to select those students at the same level of language proficiency. This test was based on Cambridge English Proficiency . Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, (CCPE , 2012) is the most advanced general English exam provided by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. The English level of those who had passed the CPE was supposed to be similar to that of a fairly educated native speaker of English. This certificate ranks the highest among the other general Cambridge certificates. Proficiency Test contained four complete and authentic examination sections with 50 questions .

3.2.2. Reading Task

In order to collect data on the dependent variable, pronunciation proficiency, the students' scores on a pre-intermediate reading aloud task were collected. The reading aloud task was extracted from pre- intermediate reading comprehension course books, i.e. Pre-Intermediate Select Readings books.

3.2.3. Oral Pronunciation Task

During 45 minutes in each session, within the first week for bilinguals and the third week for monolinguals, a three-part oral test concerning pronunciation was administered as follows:

- A conversation between the interlocutor and each candidate. (Spoken questions)
- A two-way conversation between candidates. (Visual and written stimuli with spoken instructions)
- A 10-minute opportunity for each candidate followed by the second candidate.( A written stimulus with spoken instructions based on a subject that the learners had already read.)

The candidates were not expected to be able to respond to questions fluently and to interact in conversational English, or, to use a range of functions in a variety of tasks, due to the essence of the experiment which was to test pronunciation and not the speaking skill.

3.2.4. Cambridge Audio-Written Pronunciation Test

A highly standardized written pronunciation test was administered through which the participants’ sound-distinguishing ability was tested. In this test, the students were given a paper with 20 items merely focusing on pronunciation, and they were asked to answer the items within 30 minutes according to a pre-recorded voice of a native speaker played through a PC media player simultaneously. The sound according to which the participants were to answer the items was the pronunciation of multiple items including, distinguishing consonant and vowel sounds, individual words, and short sentences. The playback was repeated for five times and, this was on account of the nature of the whole experiment which was totally concerned with pronunciation not with the listening skill. The aforementioned pre-recorded pronunciation of the items was provided by making use of two most reliable audio advanced learner’s dictionaries namely Oxford and Cambridge Advanced Learners’ Dictionary.

3.3. Validity and Reliability of the Tes

The validity of proficiency test was approved by professors. The reliability of Cambridge English Proficiency Test was measured by Anderson (2013) using Cronbach alpha. The index of reliability was 0.81 that indicates that the test is very reliable.

3.4. Procedure

3.4.1. The Observational Comparative Experiment

In a four-week period of time, the two groups were non-obtrusively examined comparatively by means of frequently administered and high quality standardized pronunciation tests (Cambridge Pronunciation Tests, 2012), so as to assist the researcher in finding the answers to research questions. As a teacher, in a full covert manner, during 45 minutes of each session within the first week, I directly observed the bilinguals’ oral production, by making use of some reading tasks, with regard to their pronunciation accuracy in the classroom setting. It is highly salient to be noted that the students’ oral production was based on some previously planned and delivered specific pronunciation lessons. Thereafter, the learners’ responses and any other remarkable behaviour regarding pronunciation were precisely recorded by a voice recorder and in a notebook as a written document. Within the second week, the bilinguals were taught more pronunciation lessons and once the learners mastered the specific pronunciation sub-skills, they were given a written pronunciation test which lasted about half an hour. Subsequently, the papers were corrected and the results recorded. All of the foresaid procedure which was to be undertaken in bilinguals’ classroom setting within the first couple of weeks was precisely done in monolinguals’ classroom setting, within the second couple of weeks determined for the study, and all data were evaluated.

Because oral production for the two groups was based on some previously planned and delivered specific pronunciation lessons, so the first week’s data was used for determining bilingualism effect on English pronunciation development.

Also, in order to find any difference between bilinguals and monolinguals as regards learning English pronunciation, a written pronunciation test which lasted about half an hour was used. This test was administered after the learners mastered the specific pronunciation sub-skills by more pronunciation lessons.

Then, to determine the effect of the existing English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 on their English pronunciation achievement, the audio-visual pronunciation test was used. Finally, all of gathered data were analyzed through appropriate statistical tests.

3.5. Data analysis

SPSS software was used for data analysis. A number of descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted on the data. The data were gathered and analyzed descriptively using mean, standard deviation, the Skewness and Kurtosis values. The percentage of responses for each Likert scale point was calculated for each item. Then, the Chi-square test was used to analyze the subjects’ responses to the questionnaire. In order to investigate the relationship between the bilingualism and the Iranian EFL Learners’ pronunciation proficiency achievement, a Kruskal-Wallis test was done. The relationship was regarded as statistically significant when the P value was <0.05. The results of analyses are summarized in the following chapter.

3.5.1. Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test:

Given that the significance level for all the variables is more than 0.05, normality assumption of variables (null hypothesis) is not rejected. So according to the normal distribution, parametric methods are used to analyze the observations.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

3.5.2. Variables of the study

Table 3.5 shows proficiency, Oral Pronunciation Task, Written Pronunciation and Audio-Visual Pronunciation for monolingual participants.

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Table 3.6 shows proficiency, Oral Pronunciation Task, Written Pronunciation and Audio-Visual Pronunciation for bilingual participants.

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Chapter Four Results

4.0. Introduction:

The results of data analysis are shown in this chapter. First, descriptive statistics of participants’ characteristics will be presented. Then, inferential statistics for testing the hypotheses will be documented.

4.1. Assumption of normality of the variables:

Before determining the appropriate statistical methods to analyze assumption of normality of descriptive observations, normal probability plots and histograms as well as inferential statistics was examined using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. If the observations do not follow a normal distribution, nonparametric methods of statistical analysis should be used.

4.2. Inferential statistics

4.2.1. T-test for Proficiency level

This is a test to compare the mean of two independent variables.

Table 4.1: Levene's Test for Equality of Variances

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

By comparing P-value of the test with considered error (0.05), assumption of Equality of Variances for proficiency is not rejected. Therefore, using the row results of equality of variance, the mean of each of the two groups is compared.

Table 4.2: Independent Samples Test

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In the confidence level of 95%, the value obtained for proficiency test is compared with 0.05 and as regards this value is higher than the considered error, H0 is accepted and this shows the similarity of test (or mean) average in group.

H01. Bilingualism does not affect the students’ achievement of English pronunciation.

Student’s T-test of two independent samples:

At first, Levene's Test for Equality of Variances was done.

Table 4.3: Levene's Test for Equality of Variances

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

By comparing P-value of the test with considered error (0.05), assumption of Equality of Variances for Oral Pronunciation Task is rejected. Therefore using the row results of non-equality of variance, the mean of each of the two groups was compared.

Table 4.4: Independent Samples Test

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In the confidence level of 95%, the value obtained for Oral Pronunciation Task test was compared with 0.05 and as regards this value is less than considered error, so H0 is rejected; given that the range of the confidence interval is negative, it indicates higher mean scores of the test in bilinguals. So bilingualism affects the students’ achievement of English pronunciation.

H02: There are no significant differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in regard to learning English pronunciation.

Student’s T-test of two independent samples:

At first, Levene's Test for Equality of Variances was done.

Table 4.5: Levene's Test for Equality of Variances

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

By comparing P-value of the test with the considered error (0.05), assumption of Equality of Variances for written pronunciation was rejected. Therefore using the row results of non-equality of variance, the average of each of the two groups was compared.

Table 4.6: Independent Samples Test

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In the confidence level of 95%, the value obtained for written pronunciation test was compared with 0.05 and as regards this value is less than the considered error, so H0 is rejected; given that the range of the confidence interval is negative, it indicates higher mean scores of the test in bilinguals. So there are significant differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in regard to learning English pronunciation.

H03; The exiting English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 have no important impacts on their English pronunciation development.

Student’s T-test of two independent samples:

At first, Levene's Test for Equality of Variances was done.

Table 4.7: Levene's Test for Equality of Variances

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

By comparing P-value of the test with the considered error (0.05), assumption of Equality of Variances for Audio-Visual Pronunciation was not rejected. Therefore using the row results of the equality of variance, the average of each of the two groups was compared.

Table 4.8: Independent Samples Test

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In confidence level of 95%, the value obtained for Audio-Visual Pronunciation Task test was compared with 0.05 and as regards this value is less than the considered error; H0 is rejected and given that the range of the confidence interval is negative, indicating higher mean scores of the test in bilinguals. So the existing English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 have important impacts on their English pronunciation development.

Chapter 5: Conclusion and Discussion

5.0 Introduction

In this chapter, acceptance of the hypotheses will be investigated and discussed. After that, conclusions obtained from the study will be presented and finally based on the study results, recommendations are provided.

5.1 Summary of the findings

As shown in Table 4.2, 21-23 year old monolingual learners with 30% and 19-21 year old monolingual learners with 41.1% are the minimum and maximum number of learners in the monolingual group, respectively. Also as shown in Table 4.3, 21-23 year old monolingual learners with 33.3% and 19-21 year old monolingual learners with 40.1% are the minimum and maximum number of the learners among all the participants, respectively. This means that between monolingual learners, 40.1% of learners are 19-21 years old.

Given that the significance level for all the variables is more than 0.05 (Tables 4-7), normality assumption of variables (null hypothesis) was not rejected. So according to the normal distribution, parametric methods were used to analyze the observations.

Table 4.4 showed that in confidence level of 95%, the value obtained for Oral Pronunciation Task test was compared with 0.05 and with regard to this value, it was less than the considered error, So the hypothesis was rejected; given that the range of the confidence interval was negative, it indicated higher mean scores of the test in bilinguals. So bilingualism affects the students’ achievement of English pronunciation.

Table 4.6 showed that in the confidence level of 95%, the value obtained for written pronunciation test was compared with 0.05 and in regard to this value it was less than the considered error, so the hypothesis was rejected; given that the range of the confidence interval was negative, it indicated higher mean scores of the test in bilinguals. So there are significant differences between bilinguals and monolinguals with regard to learning English pronunciation.

Table 4.6 showed that in confidence level of 95%, the value obtained for Audio-Written Pronunciation Task test was compared with 0.05 and as regards this value it was less than the considered error; the hypothesis was rejected and the negative range of the confidence interval indicated higher mean scores of the test in bilinguals. So, the existing English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 have important impacts on their English pronunciation development.

5.2 Discussion of findings

As demonstrated in Table 4.4, bilingualism affects the students’ achievement of English pronunciation. These results are similar to reports of Ben-Zeev(1977), Bialystock (1986), Cummins(1976), Diaz (1985),Feldman & Shen (1971), Ianco- Worall (1972) Segalowitz (1977). These studies indicated that bilinguals have a more enhanced awareness of the arbitrary relationship between words and their referents and superior meta-linguistic skills. Viewing bilinguality in the framework of meta-linguistic awareness, Segalowitz (1977) suggests that the internalization of two languages rather than one will result in a more complex, better equipped mental calculus enabling the child to alternate between two systems of rules in manipulation of symbols. Furthermore, Bialystok (2004) hypothesized that bilingual children have an advantage over monolinguals in their control of the linguistic processing needed for metalinguistic problems.

But these results are contrary to findings of researchers such as Torrance et al (1972), Keldman and Shen (1971), Tashima and Hogan (1975), and Palmer (1972) pointed to the negative effect of bilingualism on students’ achievement of English pronunciation.

Many researchers have also found that bilingualism has a positive effect on foreign language achievement (Cummins, 1979; Eisentein, 1980; Hoffman, 2001; Bialystok, Craik, Klein, & Viswanathan, 2004; Bialystok & Martin, 2004; Mechelli et al., 2004; Lerea & Laporta, 1971; Ringbom, 1985; Sanz, 2000; Thomas, 1988; Valencia & Cenoz, 1992; Zobl, 1993).

Moreover, these results are consistent with the findings of Yusuf’s (2009)study on the infant bilingual acquisition. His results showed that bilingualism provides advantages towards an individual’s development and cognitive growth such as communication advantages, cultural advantages, cognitive advantages, character advantages and curriculum advantages.

As Table 4.4 shows, there are significant differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in regard to learning English pronunciation. These results agree with the findings of Flora (2010), reporting that bilinguals are better at learning additional languages, even if those languages bear little resemblance to the ones they have already known. Bilingual children are able, from an early age, to differentiate between their two linguistic systems. Research suggests that if bilingual children have a reasonable degree of balance between their two languages, their overall intellectual development is not hindered. On the contrary, it is enhanced (Baker, 2006; Cummins, 2000; Gracia, 2009; Hornberger, 2006; May, 2010; Skerret-White, 2003). Eisenstein (1980) for instance found that childhood bilinguality had a positive effect on adult aptitude for learning a foreign language. That is, those who learned a second language during childhood would have a greater success in learning foreign languages as adults.

But these results are contrary to findings of Laurie (1980) that suggests that "A bilingual child's intellectual and spiritual growth would not thereby be doubled but halved".

Also these results are consistent with the findings of Thomas’s (1988) study that compared the acquisition of college French by English monolinguals and English-Spanish bilinguals. Her study yielded striking differences between the two groups, with the bilinguals outperforming the monolinguals. She concluded that bilinguals learning a third language seem to have developed a sensitivity to language as a system which helps them perform better on those activities usually associated with formal language learning than monolinguals learning a foreign language for the first time.

This result is in agreement with the reports of Keshavarz (2004) who investigated the impact of bilinguality on the learning of English vocabulary as a foreign language. The results of the data analyses showed that native speakers of Turkish and Armenian who speak Persian as their second language performed better in the English vocabulary test than the Persian monolingual learners of English. This can be attributed to the positive effect of the subjects’ bilinguality on their third language vocabulary achievement. The study also revealed that in the area of vocabulary production and achievement the Armenian-Persian bilinguals who had learned their first and second languages both academically and orally were more successful than the Turkish-Persian bilinguals who had learned their first language only orally. The results are interpreted to have implications for EFL methodologists and syllabus designers.

Also, Table 4.8 showed that the existing English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 have important impacts on their English pronunciation development. This result agrees with the reports of Skerret and Gunn (2011) indicating that children who had already acquired a vocabulary in each of their languages and gained some experience in switching between them enjoyed cognitive and social advantages over monolinguals.

Research in New Zealand shows that there are many benefits to speaking more than one language, including the ability to think more creatively and laterally, an appreciation of differing world’s views, a stronger sense of self and cultural identity, and capacity to participate in more than one culture(May, 2010).

One of the most fundamental assumptions underlying the efficiency of bilingual instruction is that skills and knowledge are learned in L1 transfer to L2 (Goldman et al., 1984; Malakoff, 1988). Thus a child learning about velocity in Spanish, for example, should be able to transfer this knowledge to English without having to relearn the concepts as long as the relevant vocabulary (in L2) is available. Having the content knowledge or more specifically the similar sounds already available in L1 seems to greatly facilitate the learning of the appropriate pronunciation in L2. Given that skills do transfer across languages, it is possible to think about transfer as occurring on a specific skill by skill componential basis, or, more globally, where the entire structure of skills in a domain transfers as a whole.

With regard to vocabulary learning, most words in both first and second languages are probably learned incidentally through extensive reading and listening (Nagy et al., 1985). Several recent studies have confirmed that incidental L2 vocabulary learning through reading does occur (Chun & Plass, 1966; Day et al., 199; Huistijn et al., 1996; Knight, 1994; Zimmerman, 1997).

5.3. Conclusions

Analysis and discussion of the data collected in this study entail the following conclusions:

- Bilingualism affects the students’ achievement of English pronunciation.

- There are significant differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in regard to learning English pronunciation.

- The exiting English words and sounds in bilinguals’ L1 have important impacts on their English pronunciation development.

5.4. Suggestions for further research

- Future research can be performed on other levels of EFL learners, because the level of students probably affects the results.

- Many factors can influence pronunciation proficiency achievement which should be considered. As much as the effect of these factors are considered and controlled, the results of the study can be more accurate.

Limitations of the study

- One of the limitations of this study was the learner's proficiency level. All of them were pre-intermediate EFL learners.

- Moreover, because of constraints of time and space, it was not possible to involve a sample larger than 60 participants.

- The learners were selected only from two institutes; maybe larger studies are needed to come to better conclusions..

Pedagogical implications

- The positive impacts of bilingualism are seen most profoundly in what is known as executive function or self-control tasks and in how the knowledge that young bilingual speakers have in one language is transferred to the second one.

- Bilingual speakers are better able to deal with distractions than those who speak only a single language, and that may help offset age-related declines in mental performance

- Bilingual advantage is greater for older participants

- A strong foundation in the native language makes learning a second language both easier and faster, also skills like reading and writing, transfer automatically to the second language.

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Details

Title
Bilingualism and the Impacts on Pronunciation
Subtitle
The Relationship between Bilingualism and Iranian EFL Pronunciation Proficiency Achievement
Grade
Advanced
Author
Year
2014
Pages
77
Catalog Number
V370347
ISBN (Book)
9783668495722
File size
1000 KB
Language
English
Tags
Bilingualism, Pronounciation, pronunciation proficiency achievement, Iranian EFL
Quote paper
Marouf Ataie (Author), 2014, Bilingualism and the Impacts on Pronunciation, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/370347

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