Linguistic consequences of toing and froing: Factors that modulate narrative development in bilingual returnee children

Maki Kubota, Vicky Chondrogianni, Adam Scott Clark, Jason Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This longitudinal study examined the development of narrative micro- and macrostructure in Japanese-English bilingual returnee children. Returnees are children of immigrant families who move to a foreign country, spending a significant portion of their formative developmental years in the foreign majority language context before returning to their native language environment. The returnees did a narrative task in both their L1 (Japanese) and L2 (English) immediately upon their return to their native language environment and a year after.The results showed no aggregate significant changes in L1 or L2 micro- and macrostructure over time. However, at the individual level, the degree of maintenance of L2 microstructure was modulated by L2 exposure. That is, children who continued to receive L2 exposure better maintained their English microstructure (i.e., Type-Token Ratio and Verbs per Utterance)despite being re-immersed in the L1 environment. In terms of their Japanese, the age of return to the L1 environment and relative proficiency predicted the development of their Japanese microstructure (i.e., MLU, Fluency, Type-Token Ratio) and macrostructure. Our study is the first to track both languages of bilingual returnee children over time, revealing that different background variables affect the change in returnee children’s L1 and L2 narrative abilities.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Early online date13 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Apr 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • returnee children
  • narrative
  • microstructure
  • macrostructure
  • longitudinal


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