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Reconsidering Early Bilingualism

A Corpus-Based Study of Polish Migrant Children in the United Kingdom

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Marcin Opacki

This book investigates the language of Polish-English bilingual children raised in the United Kingdom and their Polish monolingual counterparts. It exemplifies the lexico-grammatical knowledge of both groups and uses corpus-based grammatical inference in order to establish the source of the impediment of the minority language of the bilingual group. The author applies the methodology of corpus linguistics and narrative analysis to study the language of young bilinguals. He presupposes the caveat that a child-type competence exists and can be contrasted with an adult-type competence. He uses a variety of corpus frequency measures to compare the specific stylometric features of bilingual child narratives and their monolingual counterparts. The book focuses on how bilingual and monolingual language differs in areas such as the lexicon, morphosyntax, and semantics.

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The Structure of this Book

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The present book is divided into nine chapters which make up two of its essential parts: the theoretical part and the experimental part.

Chapters I to VI are an attempt at a comprehensive synthesis of the existing body of knowledge. They are essentially theoretical and their primary purpose is to ground the project with reference to current and past research, discuss relevant phenomena, and, following a critical review of existing research methods, eventually build up to the methodology of the current project, justifying the solutions proposed.

Contrariwise, Chapters VII to IX are analytical. As such, their purpose is to analyze the available data set and, through an assessment of research outcomes, contribute to the field of Linguistics.

Chapter I presents the aims of this book. Grounds are given for the undertaking of the research endeavor. Following an outline of the main objective, all essential research questions are stated.

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