University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Using CLAN to investigate input and output in a longitudinal corpus of naturalistic bilingual interactions.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2015
EventLost in Transmission? The role of Attrition and Input in Heritage Language Development. - University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Oct 201510 Oct 2015


ConferenceLost in Transmission? The role of Attrition and Input in Heritage Language Development.
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


With the advent of new digital technologies the recording and storing of language behaviour has become easier, much more unobtrusive and often a multimodal experience, capable of capturing speech, facial expressions and gestures. These advances in technology have made it possible for researchers to amass large quantities of data which have the potential to provide new insights in many areas of linguistic enquiry. It is clear that traditional manual analyses of such data becomes less and less feasible as the size of the corpus increases and this has necessarily led to the development of specialized computer software specifically designed to assist researchers in being able to effectively exploit the data they collect. Such methodology belongs to the relatively new field of Corpus Linguistics (CL) which, especially over the last 20 years, has seen an explosion in terms of both the creation of new corpora (written and oral) and the number of studies dedicated to the uncovering of previously undetectable patterns in this new language data. Although now commonly used in monolingual linguistic enquiry, studies reporting on the application of CL methodology to bilingual data are notably lacking.
In this talk I report on a study which used CL techniques to investigate bilingual phenomena in a longitudinal corpus of child bilingual language, the LOBILL Corpus, which consists of twenty-five hours of recordings of naturalistic interactions between two bilingual Brazilian/English siblings (JAM, 3;6 and MEG, 5;10) and their family members. Collected over three years, the data was transcribed and coded using the CHAT (Codes for the Human Analysis of Transcripts) transcription system developed by MacWhinney and colleagues (MacWhinney, 1991). In addition to standard CHAT coding, language codes were inserted throughout the corpus and a specially developed code-switching postcode was added to all bilingual utterances. By also inserting addressee information for each utterance, I was able to use the CLAN (Computerized Language ANalysis) software (ibid) to analyse the speech of specific speaker/interlocutor combinations and therefore investigate the relationship between the language input of the different mono and bilingual interlocutors and the two bilingual children's output. After presenting my methodology, I will share some of the quantitative results and discuss what they reveal about the bilingual language behaviour of the main informants and the extent to which the sibings' language use is influenced by parental input.

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