The Bilingual Advantage
A Gender Metalinguistic Task in Arabic–English Bilingual Children
Keywords:syntactic awareness, bilingual development, metalinguistic awareness, Arabic, child language, bilingualism
A finding that has not received much attention in the metalinguistic awareness literature is that bilingual children may be better at identifying gender mismatches between a subject and a predicate. This phenomenon is not well understood, nor has it been studied systematically. In the present study we present a systematic investigation of the phenomenon involving all three levels of metalinguistic awareness (identification of the mismatch, correction and explanation) in a language pair that has not been tested previously. We tested a group of six-year-old Arabic–English bilingual children in comparison with two monolingual control groups. Results reveal that bilinguals performed better than monolinguals at the correction level. The study reveals a bilingual advantage in this population for the first time, while enhancing our knowledge of the development of metalinguistic awareness.
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