Does Timing in Acquisition Modulate Heritage Children’s Language Abilities? Evidence from the Greek LITMUS Sentence Repetition Task
2. Child-Internal and Environmental Effects on HL Acquisition and Their Interaction with Timing in Acquisition
3. The Present Study
3.1. Participant Information
- O manavis pulise tis orimes fraules stin aγora poli fθina.the grocer sold the ripe strawberries in-the market very cheaply“The grocer sold the ripe strawberries in the market very cheaply.” (SVO)
- O proponitis ðen elpizi na kerðisi i omaða tu simera.the trainer not hopes that wins the team his today.“The trainer does not hope that his team wins today.” (NEG)
- I mama majirepse makaronia ke I jiajia eftiakse mia pita.the mother cooked pasta and the grandmother made a pie“The mother cooked pasta and the grandmother made a pie.” (COOR)
- To koritsi tin entise tin kukla tu me omorfa foremata.the girl it-CL dressed the doll its with beautiful dresses“The girl dressed its doll with beautiful dresses.” (CL, clitic doubling)
- I nosokomes ipan oti i ptisi tu jiatru exi kathisterisi.the nurses said that the flight of-the doctor has delay“The nurses said that the doctor’s flight is delayed.” (COMPL)
- a. I ðaskala ðen ine siγuri pjo vivlio ðiavase i maθitria.the teacher not is sure which book read the pupil“The teacher is not sure which book the pupil read.” (WH_ref)b. Mono o astinomos γnorize ti eklepsan apo to saloni i listes.only the policeman knew what stole from the living-room the thieves“Only the policeman knew what the thieves stole from the living-room.” (WH_non-ref)
- O jitonas aγorase to aftokinito prin pulisi to mikro spiti.the neighbor bought the car before sold the small house“The neighbor bought the car before he sold the small house.” (ADV)
- O tzitzikas ðiavaze ena vivlio pu eγrapse o vasilias tis zunglas.the cicada was-reading a book that wrote the king of-the jungle“The cicada was reading a book that the king of the jungle wrote.” (RC)
3.3. Data Analysis
3.4.1. Performance across Early and Late Acquired Structures in the SRT
3.4.2. Predictors of SRT Performance and Their Interaction with Timing
4. Discussion and Conclusions
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
- Andreou, Maria, Ifigenia Dosi, Despina Papadopoulou, and Ianthi Maria Tsimpli. 2020. Heritage and non-heritage bilinguals: The role of biliteracy and bilingual education. In Lost in Transmission: The Role of Attrition and Input in Heritage Language Development. Edited by Bernhard Brehmer and Jeanine Treffers-Daller. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 172–96. [Google Scholar]
- Armon-Lotem, Sharon, Joel Walters, and Natalia Gagarina. 2011. The impact of internal and external factors on linguistic performance in the home language and in L2 among Russian-Hebrew and Russian-German preschool children. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 1: 291–317. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Armon-Lotem, Sharon, Karen Rose, and Carmit Altman. 2020. The development of English as a heritage language: The role of chronological age and age of onset of bilingualism. First Language 29: 1–23. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Baslis, Yannis. 1994. The development of subordinate clauses in the language of Greek children. In Themes in Greek Linguistics: Papers from the First International Conference on Greek Linguistics. Edited by Irene Philippaki-Warburton, Katerina Nicolaidis and Maria Sifianou. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, pp. 333–40. [Google Scholar]
- Bishop, Dorothy Vera Margaret. 1982. Test for Reception of Grammar (T.R.O.G.). Oxford: Medical Research Council/Chapel Press. [Google Scholar]
- Bongartz, Christiane, and Jacopo Torregrossa. 2020. The effects of balanced biliteracy on Greek-German bilingual children’s secondary discourse ability. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 23: 948–63. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Chondrogianni, Vasiliki, and Richard G. Schwartz. 2020. Case marking and word order in Greek heritage children. Journal of Child Language 47: 766–95. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Chondrogianni, Vicky, Maria Andreou, Michaela Nerantzini, Spyridoula Varlokosta, and Ianthi Maria Tsimpli. 2013. The Greek Sentence Repetition Task. COST Action IS0804. COST Action IS0804. [Google Scholar]
- Daskalaki, Evangelia, Vasiliki Chondrogianni, Elma Blom, Froso Argyri, and Johanne Paradis. 2019. Input effects across domains: The case of Greek subjects in child heritage language. Second Language Research 35: 421–45. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Di Sciullo, Anna Maria, and Lyle Jenkins. 2016. Biolinguistics and the human language faculty. Language 92: e205–e236. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dosi, Ifigeneia, and Despina Papadopoulou. 2019. The role of educational setting in the development of verbal aspect and executive functions: Evidence from Greek-German bilingual children. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 37: 1–17. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Frizelle, Pauline, Clodagh ONeill ’, and Dorothy V. M. Bishop. 2017. Assessing understanding of relative clauses: A comparison of multiple-choice comprehension versus sentence repetition. Journal of Child Language 44: 1435–57. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
- Gagarina, Natalia, and Annegret Klassert. 2018. Input dominance and development of home language in Russian-German bilinguals. Frontiers in Communication 3: 40. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Grimm, Angela, and Petra Schulz. 2016. Warum man bei mehrsprachigen Kindern dreimal nach dem Alter fragen sollte: Sprachfähigkeiten simultan-bilingualer Lerner im Vergleich mit monolingualen und frühen Zweitsprachlernern. Diskurs Kindheits- und Jugendforschung/Discourse. Journal of Childhood and Adolescence Research 11: 27–42. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Guasti, Maria Teresa, Stavroula Stavrakaki, and Fabrizio Arosio. 2012. Cross-linguistic differences and similarities in the acquisition of relative clauses: Evidence from Greek and Italian. Lingua 122: 700–13. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Haman, Ewa, Zofia Wodniecka, Marta Marecka, Jakub Szewczyk, Marta Białecka-Pikul, Agnieszka Otwinowska, Karolina Mieszkowska, Magdalena Łuniewska, Joanna Kołak, Aneta Miękisz, and et al. 2017. How does L1 and L2 exposure impact L1 performance in bilingual children? Evidence from Polish-English migrants to the United Kingdom. Frontiers in Psychology 8: 1444. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Hamann, Cornelia, and Lina Abed Ibrahim. 2017. Methods for identifying specific language impairment in bilingual populations in Germany. Frontiers in Communication 2: 16. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Hasselhorn, Marcus, Ruth Schumann-Hengsteler, Julia Gronauer, Dietmar Grube, Claudia Mähler, Inga Schmid, Katja Seitz-Stein, and Christof Zoelch. 2012. AGTB 5-12: Arbeitsgedächtnistestbatterie für Kinder von 5 bis 12 Jahren. Manual. Göttingen: Hogrefe. [Google Scholar]
- Hessisches Kultusministerium, 2008, Wir sprechen, lesen und schreiben Griechisch: Unterrichtsmaterial für den herkunftssprachlichen Unterricht Griechisch, 3rd ed. Gießen: Weyel.
- Janssen, Bibi, Natalia Meir, Anne Baker, and Sharon Armon-Lotem. 2015. On-line comprehension of Russian case cues in monolingual Russian and bilingual Russian-Dutch and Russian-Hebrew children. In Proceedings of the 39th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Edited by Elizabeth Grillo and Kely Jepson. Somerville: Cascadilla Press, vol. 2, pp. 266–78. [Google Scholar]
- Kaltsa, Maria, Alexandra Prentza, and Ianthi Maria Tsimpli. 2019. Input and literacy effects in simultaneous and sequential bilinguals: The performance of Albanian-Greek-speaking children in sentence repetition. International Journal of Bilingualism 6: 1–25. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kapetangianni, Konstantia. 2010. Variable word order in child Greek. In Variation in the Input: Studies in the Acquisition of Word Order. Edited by Merete Anderssen, Kristine Bentzen and Marit Westergaard. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 179–205. [Google Scholar]
- Katis, Demetra, and Chrysa Stampouliadou. 2009. The development of sentential complement constructions in Greek: Evidence from a case study. Constructions and Frames 1: 221–60. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kupisch, Tanja. 2019. 2L1 simultaneous bilinguals as heritage speakers. In The Oxford Handbook of Language Attrition. Edited by Monika S. Schmid and Barbara Köpcke. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 458–69. [Google Scholar]
- Kupisch, Tanja, and Jason Rothman. 2018. Terminology matters! Why difference is not incompleteness and how early child bilinguals are heritage speakers. International Journal of Bilingualism 22: 564–82. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Lloyd-Smith, Anika, Marieke Einfeldt, and Tanja Kupisch. 2020. Italian-German bilinguals: The effects of heritage language use on accent in early-acquired languages. International Journal of Bilingualism 24: 289–304. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Makrodimitris, Christos, and Petra Schulz. 2021. DaZ ab Sechs: Ein Projekt zum Erwerb temporaler Subjunktoren bei griechisch-deutschen Lerner*innen. In Deutsch als Zweitsprache—Forschungsfelder und Ergebnisse. Edited by Anna-Lena Scherger, Beate Lütke, Elke Montanari, Anja Müller and Ricard Brede Julia. Stuttgart: Fillibach bei Klett, pp. 147–61. [Google Scholar]
- Marinis, Theodore. 2000. The acquisition of clitic objects in Modern Greek: Single clitics, clitic doubling, clitic left dislocation. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 15: 259–81. Available online: https://zaspil.leibniz-zas.de/article/view/32 (accessed on 23 January 2021).
- Marinis, Theodoros, and Sharon Armon-Lotem. 2015. Sentence Repetition. In Assessing Multilingual Children: Disentangling Bilingualism from Language Impairment. Edited by Sharon Armon-Lotem, Jan de Jong and Natalia Meir. Bristol/Buffalo/Toronto: Multilingual Matters, pp. 95–121. [Google Scholar]
- Mastropavlou, Maria, and Ianthi Maria Tsimpli. 2011. Complementisers and Subordination in Typical Language Acquisition and SLI. Lingua 121: 442–62. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Papakonstantinou, Maria. 2015. Temporal Connectives in Child Language: A Study of Greek. Ph.D. dissertation, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece. [Google Scholar]
- Papastefanou, Theodora, Daisy Powell, and Theodoros Marinis. 2019. Language and decoding skills in Greek-English primary school bilingual children: Effects of language dominance, contextual factors and cross-language relationships between the heritage and the majority language. Frontiers in Communication 4: 65. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Polinsky, Maria. 2018. Heritage Languages and Their Speakers. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press. [Google Scholar]
- Rinke, Esther, and Cristina Flores. 2021. Portuguese as a heritage language in Germany: A linguistic perspective. Languages 6: 10. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Rinke, Esther, Cristina Flores, and Aldona Sopata. 2019. Heritage Portuguese and heritage Polish in contact with German: More evidence on the production of objects. Languages 4: 53. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Rodina, Yulia, and Marit Westergaard. 2017. Grammatical gender in bilingual Norwegian-Russian acquisition: The role of input and transparency. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 20: 197–214. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Rodina, Yulia, Tanja Kupisch, Natalia Meir, Natalia Mitrofanova, Olga Urek, and Marit Westergaard. 2020. Internal and external factors in heritage language acquisition: Evidence from heritage Russian in Israel, Germany, Norway, Latvia and the United Kingdom. Frontiers in Education 5: 20. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Ruigendijk, Esther, and Naama Friedmann. 2017. A deficit in movement-derived sentences in German-speaking hearing-impaired children. Frontiers in Psychology 8: 689. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Sauerland, Uli, Kleanthes K. Grohmann, Maria Teresa Guasti, Darinka Anđelković, Reili Argus, Sharon Armon-Lotem, Fabrizio Arosio, Larisa Avram, João Costa, Ineta Dabašinskienė, and et al. 2016. How do 5-year-olds understand questions? Differences in languages across Europe. First Language 36: 169–202. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Schulz, Petra. 2003. Factivity: Its Nature and Acquisition. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. [Google Scholar]
- Schulz, Petra, and Angela Grimm. 2019. The age factor revisited: Timing in acquisition interacts with age of onset in bilingual acquisition. Frontiers in Psychology 9: 2732. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
- Schulz, Petra, and Rosemarie Tracy. 2011. LiSe-DaZ: Linguistische Sprachstandserhebung-Deutsch als Zweitsprache. Göttingen: Hogrefe. [Google Scholar]
- Statistisches Bundesamt/DESTATIS. 2020. Bevolkerung mit Migrationshintergrund: Ergebnisse des Microzensus 2019. Available online: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Bevoelkerung/Migration-Integration/_inhalt.html#sprg228898 (accessed on 3 November 2020).
- Stavrakaki, Stavroula, Matina Tasioudi, and Teresa Guasti. 2015. Morphological cues in the comprehension of relative clauses by Greek children with specific language impairment and typical development: A comparative study. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 17: 617–26. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Stephany, Ursula. 1997. The acquisition of Greek. In The Crosslinguistic Study of Language Acquisition. Edited by Dan Isaac Slobin. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum, vol. 4, pp. 183–333. [Google Scholar]
- Tsimpli, Ianthi Maria. 2005. Peripheral positions in early Greek. In Advances in Greek Generative Syntax: In Honor of Dimitra Theophanopoulou-Kontou. Edited by Melita Stavrou and Archonto Terzi. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 179–216. [Google Scholar]
- Tsimpli, Ianthi Maria. 2014. Early, late or very late? Timing acquisition and bilingualism. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 4: 283–313. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Tuller, Laurice. 2015. Clinical use of parental questionnaires in multilingual contexts. In Assessing Multilingual Children: Disentangling Bilingualism from Language Impairment. Edited by Sharon Armon-Lotem, Jan de Jong and Natalia Meir. Bristol/Buffalo/Toronto: Multilingual Matters, pp. 301–30. [Google Scholar]
- Unsworth, Sharon. 2013. Assessing the role of current and cumulative exposure in simultaneous bilingual acquisition: The case of Dutch gender. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 16: 86–110. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Varlokosta, Sryridoula, and Sharon Armon-Lotem. 1998. Resumptives and wh-movement in the acquisition of relative clauses in Modern Greek and Hebrew. In Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Edited by Annabel Greenhill, Mary Hughes, Heather Littlefield and Hugh Walsh. Somerville: Cascadilla Press, vol. 2, pp. 737–46. [Google Scholar]
- Varlokosta, Spyridoula, Michaela Nerantzini, and Despina Papadopoulou. 2015. Comprehension asymmetries in language acquisition: A test for Relativized Minimality. Journal of Child Language 42: 618–61. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Varlokosta, Spyridoula, Adriana Belletti, João Costa, Naama Friedmann, Anna Gavarró, Kleanthes K. Grohmann, Maria Teresa Guasti, Laurice Tuller, Maria Lobo, Darinka Anđelković, and et al. 2016. A cross-linguistic study of the acquisition of clitic and pronoun production. Language Acquisition 23: 1–26. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Willis, Catherine S., and Susan E. Gathercole. 2001. Phonological short-term memory contributions to sentence processing in young children. Memory 9: 349–63. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
It should be noted that these factors are not always easy to tease apart. As a case in point, Rinke et al. (2019) found in their study of clitics and null objects in German-Portuguese and German-Polish children that input at home, AoO of the L2 German, CA, and HL instruction were highly correlated.
Admittedly, the roles of AoO of the L2 and amount of HL input and use are not easy to tease apart: a child HL learner with a later L2-AoO has had more time to develop the HL independently of the majority language but has most likely also used the HL substantially more during the early years (see Lloyd-Smith et al. 2020 for a discussion in relation to (foreign) accents in Italian adult HL speakers in Germany).
In the case of lessons held in tandem (i.e., bilingual Greek/German), 0.5 h of Greek instruction were counted for each hour.
Schulz and Grimm (2019) and Tsimpli (2014) further distinguish late from very late phenomena, mastered after age 6. The predictions in term of the notion of timing do not differ for late and very late phenomena.
To ensure that the Greek SRT was suitable for use in the HL context in Germany, we tested 13 older Greek-dominant children (Mean CA = 11;3 (Range: 9;0–12;11), L2-AoO > 4;0, L2-exposure: 4 h of German instruction per week). Their overall performance was close to ceiling (90.9%). The same held for the majority of the structures in the SRT (SVO: 96.2%. NEG: 90.4%, COOR: 96.2%, CL: 75.9%, COMPL: 88.5%, ADV: 90.8%, RC: 92.3%, WH(ref and non-ref): 96.2%). This suggests that the task can be mastered by heritage children given enough exposure to Greek; for an explanation of the relatively lower performance in CL, see Section 4.
Note that in Varlokosta et al. (2015), the referential wh-words were masculine and marked for accusative. In the Greek SRT, the wh-words were neuter (pjo, see (6a) above, ti, see (6b)), where accusative and nominative are morphologically non-distinct. Therefore, differences regarding case marking did not play a role for the difficulty of the target sentences.
Clitics are acquired early in many languages, but not in Portuguese and Polish (see Varlokosta et al. 2016).
For a more direct comparison between the two studies, we calculated the correlation between overall task performance and CA in our data; the result was not significant, both in the whole sample (r = 0.257, p = 0.098) and in a subsample of approximately the same age range as in Papastefanou et al. (6;0–8;10; r = −0.151, p = 0.303)
The results for the regression model with L2-AoO as the only predictor are as follows: early structures: β = 0.502, p = 0.008, adj. R2 = 0.222; late structures: β = 0.526, p = 0.005, adj. R2 = 0.248. The addition of the variable CUF-Greek, which moderately correlated with L2-AoO (r = 0.517), drastically improves model fit and renders L2-AoO non-significant.
Early acquired, non-referential wh-questions involve subordination and wh-movement as well; we suggest that it is the property of discourse linking that renders referential wh-questions especially difficult.
|1. Main clauses (SVO)||Early +||--||Tsimpli (2005); Kapetangianni (2010)|
|2. Sentential negation (NEG)||Early||--||Baslis (1994); Stephany (1997)|
|3. Clausal coordination (COOR)||Early||--||Baslis (1994); Stephany (1997)|
|4. Clitic doubling and left dislocation (CL)||Early||--||Marinis (2000); Tsimpli (2005)|
|5. Complement clauses (COMPL)||Early||--||Stephany (1997); Katis and Stampouliadou (2009); Mastropavlou and Tsimpli (2011)|
|6. Non-referential wh-questions (WH_non-ref)||Early||Early||Stephany (1997); Tsimpli (2005); Varlokosta et al. (2015)|
|7. Referential wh-questions (WH_ref)||Late #||Late||Stephany (1997); Tsimpli (2005); Varlokosta et al. (2015)|
|8. Adverbial clauses (ADV)||Late||Late||Baslis (1994); Stephany (1997); Papakonstantinou (2015)|
|9. Object and subject relative clauses (RC)||Early||Late||Varlokosta and Armon-Lotem (1998); Mastropavlou and Tsimpli (2011); Guasti et al. (2012); Stavrakaki et al. (2015); Varlokosta et al. (2015)|
|0.852 ***||0.192||0.502 **||0.711 ***||0.119||0.188|
|1||0.230||0.526 **||0.681 ***||0.110||0.368 *|
|1||0.517 **||0.329 *||0.146|
|F(2, 26) = 13.552, p < 0.001, adj. R2 = 0.491, mean VIF = 1.365|
|F(3, 26) = 13.536, p < 0.001, adj. R2 = 0.591, mean VIF = 1.286|
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Share and Cite
Makrodimitris, C.; Schulz, P. Does Timing in Acquisition Modulate Heritage Children’s Language Abilities? Evidence from the Greek LITMUS Sentence Repetition Task. Languages 2021, 6, 49. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010049
Makrodimitris C, Schulz P. Does Timing in Acquisition Modulate Heritage Children’s Language Abilities? Evidence from the Greek LITMUS Sentence Repetition Task. Languages. 2021; 6(1):49. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010049Chicago/Turabian Style
Makrodimitris, Christos, and Petra Schulz. 2021. "Does Timing in Acquisition Modulate Heritage Children’s Language Abilities? Evidence from the Greek LITMUS Sentence Repetition Task" Languages 6, no. 1: 49. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010049