Linguistic interdependence, for bilinguals, is defined as “a common store of language knowledge that can be applied across the bilingual’s languages provided the learner has reached sufficient thresholds of proficiency in both languages.” That is, knowledge of L1 (or the first language) provides linguistic knowledge that supports the attainment of L2 (the second language). Some of these linguistic characteristics include morphology, syntax, and semantics.
The research project was a two-year longitudinal study of 112 first, second, and third generation immigrant Spanish-English bilingual children.The research team evaluated the children’s English and Spanish language proficiency (i.e. “vocabulary, semantic, morphological, and syntactic knowledge”), with assessments such as the Woodcock-Muñoz picture vocabulary test, and measured their “growth over two years and four time points (T1, T2, T3, T4) in elementary school.”
This study discovered a correlation between generational status and linguistic interdependence. In their research, the authors found notable evidence that “linguistic interdependence for Gen1 was consistently different from Gen2 and Gen3. This finding highlights the importance of examining constructs beyond linguistic components that support linguistic interdependence.”
The “multilevel iterative approach not only provided empirical evidence for Spanish-English correlations but also demonstrated how these relationships vary by bilingual proficiency,” suggesting that “differentiated language instruction” is pivotal for bilingual education.
Please find the complete article here.
-Melissa Hoppie Graduate Student Researcher