Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Educational language presents a challenge for multilingual students

09.11.2011
Linguistic features that are typical of academic and school-related language use are used more systematically by students in higher school years.

Educational language can present a challenge for multilingual students, depending on when they first encountered the language of education. Promoting factors can include having a well developed mother tongue, which is why it is important for mother tongue teaching to be supported by the school. This is shown by a new thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Ulrika Magnusson has investigated the use of grammatical metaphors among monolingual and multilingual upper secondary school students’ texts in national tests in Swedish, and in the same students’ texts in year 9.

Grammatical metaphor is deemed to be characteristic of texts such as scientific and specialised texts. A grammatical metaphor can be a nominalisation – an event that is expressed as a noun instead of a verb. With nominalisation, “The head teacher rewarded me” (verb) instead becomes “The head teacher gave me a reward” (noun). Adjectivisation is another example of grammatical metaphor. The event is then expressed using an adjective (“I saw a moving car”) instead of a verb (“I saw the car moving”).

Magnusson’s study showed that upper secondary school students used considerably more grammatical metaphors than they had when they were in year nine, but also that the use of grammatical metaphor is more characteristic of texts receiving high grades.

“This suggests that the use of grammatical metaphors is encouraged in school writing,” she says.

Different multilingual groups of students also used grammatical metaphors in different ways. Students who started to speak Swedish early (before the age of four) and those who started to speak Swedish late (after the age of seven) used grammatical metaphors to almost the same extent as monolingual Swedish students. However, an intermediate group of multilingual students who started to speak Swedish between the ages of four and seven used significantly fewer grammatical metaphors.

“I was able to see that those students who started to speak Swedish between the ages of four and seven used grammatical metaphors to a lesser degree. This may be because those students who started to speak Swedish at a young age encountered the language early on, and those who started to speak Swedish later on had developed their first language so much that they were able to benefit from it. It could be that the intermediate group has neither of these advantages.”

Magnusson has also investigated deviations from standard Swedish in the students’ texts. These deviations followed a different pattern in relation to the student’s age when starting to speak Swedish, compared with their use of grammatical metaphors.

“Here, monolingual Swedish students showed the fewest deviations, while the multilingual students showed more deviations the older they were when they started to speak Swedish.”

The differences between grammatical metaphors and deviations from standard Swedish in relation to the age of onset use may be due to the fact that they represent different types of competences in second-language development. The deviations from standard Swedish are thought to be related to common language ability, which benefits from encountering the second language early on. Grammatical metaphors may instead represent a linguistic ability that is associated with literacy, and that is developed in both the first language and the second language.

“Students who have Swedish as their second language can benefit from their reading and writing skills in their first language when reading and writing in Swedish. It is therefore important that the school supports mother tongue teaching alongside teaching in Swedish.”

The thesis has been successfully defended.

For more information, please contact: Ulrika Magnusson,
E-mail: ulrika.magnusson@svenska.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/26644

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Starting school boosts development
11.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single nanoparticle mapping paves the way for better nanotechnology

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A quantum spin liquid

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Antibiotic resistance: a strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli is on the rise

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>