"Because it's a little more my language": Metalinguistic cognition in young monolingual and bilingual children
The present study examined metalinguistic cognition, or the psychological concept of thinking about one’s own use of language, in young monolingual and bilingual children. The study aimed to evaluate if children are aware of their own language and accent bias, and whether bilingual vs. monolingual status and age affect this awareness. In the study, children were tasked with sharing snacks between two puppets, who differed in language or accent, then asked which puppet they would prefer to be friends with and why. A coding scheme was developed to categorize the children’s responses to the why question, with a particular focus on responses that mentioned language or accent. This study hypothesized that older, bilingual children would be more likely than younger, monolingual children to give language or accent as a reason for befriending one puppet over another. In a sample of 112 children aged 4-7 years, it was found that older children were significantly more likely to use metalinguistic justifications for their choices. This age effect was driven by monolingual children, as Spanish-English bilingual children did not show increased metalinguistic justifications with age. This thesis expands upon the current body of knowledge on bilingual children’s thinking and learning, and provides direction for future studies in language and accent bias in adults or in speakers of less commonly-spoken languages.
bilingualism, child development, metalinguistic awareness, language, Honors College
Iven, I. (2021). "Because it's a little more my language": Metalinguistic cognition in young monolingual and bilingual children (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.