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Title: The influence of English as a foreign language : a study of bilingual and conceptual systems in Twi-English speaking Ghanaian school-children
Author: Opuku, Joseph Yaw
ISNI:       0000 0001 3459 4773
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1976
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A theory of bilingualism was advanced in which it was argued that Twi-speaking Ghanaian school-children acquiring English at school possessed fused representational systems at the initial stages of English language learning, but that with greater competence in English, representational systems will become separated. The theory also argued that fusion of representational systems implied dependence of the English language on the Twi (native) language but that separation of representational systems will lead to independence of the two linguistic systems. As a measure of separation of representational systems, two groups of children at different levels of competence in English and sufficiently intelligible in English to be tested were administered word association tests in both Twi and English, using translated equivalent stimuli. The theory of separation of representational systems with greater English language competence was moderately supported on one measure but was not supported on another measure. The assumption in the theory that there was a dimunition of native-language 'mediation' with greater English language competence could not be directly tested from the design used but some obtained results were consonant with this assumption. The same two groups of children were also tested on conceptual tasks in both languages and the results generally showed that the children performed slightly better when they were tested in English than when they were tested in Twi. The younger of the two age groups of children tested also showed larger differences between Twi and English than the older children tested. These results were interpreted to mean that the children might have possessed separated conceptual systems and therefore that the theory of separation of linguistic representational systems could not account for conceptual functioning. Word association tests using "translated equivalent" twi and English kin terms also showed that the theory of separation of representational systems could not be supported on the two age groups tested. This result was interpreted to mean that certain aspects of the languages of a bilingual may not correspond with any general theory of bilingualism. Analysis of the data of the word association tests (used to test the main theory) 'qualitatively' into nouns, verbs, and qualifiers (adjectives and adverbs) also showed that separation of representational systems did not imply 'qualitative separation'. Improvements in the sampling of subjects and in the methodology, as well as future directions for research were suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available