Collocational knowledge in children: a comparison of English-speaking monolingual children, and children acquiring English as an Additional Language

Nick Riches*, Carolyn Letts, Hadeel Awad, Rachel Ramsey, Ewa Dabrowska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Collocations, e.g., apples and pears, hard worker, constitute an important avenue of linguistic enquiry straddling both grammar and the lexicon. They are sensitive to language experience, with adult L2 learners and children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) exhibiting poor collocational knowledge. The current study piloted a novel collocational assessment with children (mean age 6;3, 40 monolingual, 32 EAL). It investigated (1) the feasibility of a collocational assessment at this age, (2) whether collocational knowledge is associated with other language domains (receptive grammar and vocabulary), and (3) whether collocational knowledge is more affected than other domains. The assessment demonstrated good psychometric properties and was highly correlated with performance in other domains, indicating shared psycholinguistic mechanisms. Unlike adult counterparts, the EAL children performed equally poorly across domains. Given the role played by collocations in vocabulary development and reading, a focus on this domain may be beneficial for EAL children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Child Language
Early online date28 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Collocational knowledge in children: a comparison of English-speaking monolingual children, and children acquiring English as an Additional Language'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this