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 How Humans and Machines Navigate Complex Situations
19.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A gene activated in infant and young brains determines learning capacity in adulthood
13.11.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: (Re)solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, a so-called jet, emerging from the only gravitational wave event involving two neutron stars observed so far. With its high sensitivity and excellent performance, the 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg played an important role in the observations.

In August 2017, two neutron stars were observed colliding, producing gravitational waves that were detected by the American LIGO and European Virgo detectors....

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

JILA researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

22.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Understanding high efficiency of deep ultraviolet LEDs

22.02.2019 | Materials Sciences

Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress

22.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>