Evaluating discourse competence in mono- and bilingual children: A usage-based perspective on acquisition and diagnostics

with Karin Madlener, University of Basel

Mon, November 10, 2014 | BUR 337

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

What kind of linguistic skills and competences do children need to succeed in school? How can we ensure reliable early diagnosis and support for children who do not dispose of the necessary (degree of) linguistic competence due to, e.g., a heritage language and/or a low SES background? Oral language skills seem to constitute precursor skills for the acquisition of written language in various ways. The development of oral linguistic competence (vocabulary, grammar, and discourse), in turn, has been shown to depend on the quantity and quality of language exposure during (early) childhood. Multilingual children may be at a disadvantage as the input in each of the languages they acquire will in general be reduced in comparison to monolingual children. In Germany, the so-called PISA shock has alerted the educational community to these questions and gradually led to the development of a large array of diagnostic tools for mono- and multilingual pre- and primary school children, but we are still far from having all the right answers. This talk proposes a critical discussion from a usage-based perspective and with a focus on discourse competence. 


Sponsored by: Dept of Germanic Studies, Dept of Linguistics, and the Texas Language Center

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