Cross-linguistic Transfer in Spanish-English Bilingual Development
Ellen Kester

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Texas, Austin

Primary Discipline

Bilingual/Bicultural Education
The proposed study will systematically examine cross-linguistic transfer (L1 to L2 and L2 to L1) in the narratives of one thousand typically developing Spanish-English bilingual children ages 5 to 10 years. Spanish is the first language and English is the second language of the study participants. Using a quasi-longitudinal model, transfer of morphological, semantic, and syntactic aspects of language will be explored at different stages in bilingual development. Normal patterns of transfer and the relative use of transfer of the different aspects of language at different stages of bilingual development will provide insight into the universality or language specificity of language learning mechanisms. This information will inform theory in the area of bilingual development as well as inform practice. From a practical standpoint, an understanding of typical patterns that occur at different stages in bilingual development will help practitioners differentiate between typical and idiosyncratic errors, thereby reducing educational misplacement.
About Ellen Kester

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