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Title: Metalinguistic awareness in multilinguals : implicit and explicit grammatical awareness and its relationship with language experience and language attainment
Author: Kemp, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 6659
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Anecdotal evidence suggests that multilinguals' ability to learn languages increases the more languages they know; experimental evidence supports the idea that language learning promotes the development of metalinguistic awareness. The aim of this study was to investigate whether multilinguals' grammatical metalinguistic awareness is related to their attainment over and above their language experience. In order to do this, it was necessary to investigate empirically the hypotheses that attainment in another language is related to multilinguals' experience of learning languages and to their metalinguistic awareness, and that metalinguistic awareness is related to language learning experience. Thirty native English-speaking educated adult multilinguale were assessedo n their ability to learn the initial stageso f Basque under controlled conditions, their previous language learning experience, and their metalinguistic awareness (explaining native language grammaticality judgements, MLAT4, translation from Middle Egyptian, knowledge of Basque rules, implicit and explicit artificial grammar tests). The data were analysed using regression analyses in a within-participants design. The results show that the multilinguals were better at learning Basque (1) the more languages they could read and had, at least partly, studied, and (2) the more explicit grammatical metalinguistic awareness they had developed. Multilinguals' explicit metalinguistic awareness assisted language learning over and above language experience when the Basque rule knowledge test was included in the set of metalinguistic variables, but not when it was excluded. Multilinguals' language experience was related to their performance on the tests of explicit metalinguistic awareness, but not to the implicit test, nor to hypothesised overacceptance of ungrammatical items on the implicit and explicit artificial grammar tests. As a group, the multilinguals were better at the explicit than the implicit artificial grammar tests. In an exploratory factor analysis of the six metalinguistic tests two factors were found, interpreted as deductive and inductive grammar awareness, which appear to correspond to Carroll's (1993) `grammatical sensitivity', and `inductive language learning'. Performance on metalinguistic tests that assessed both inductive and deductive grammar awareness was related to language learning attainment. The results suggest that multilinguals' language learning ability may be related to their development of explicit grammatical metalinguistic awareness, in addition to the other abilities they gain through their experience of language learning. iii
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available