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Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 14615820
Project Title(English) : Input and experience in early trilingual development 
Project Title(Chinese) : 早期三語發展中的語言輸入和語言經驗 
Principal Investigator(English) : Dr MAI, Ziyin 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) : 麥子茵 
Department : Department of Linguistics and Translation
Institution : City University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Prof Mok, Peggy Pik-Ki
Prof Wu, Zhuang
Prof YIP, Virginia Choy-yin
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Psychology and Linguistics
Exercise Year : 2020 / 21
Fund Approved : 977,820
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date : 31-12-2023
Abstract as per original application
(English/Chinese):
Young children in Hong Kong and Guangzhou are speakers of Cantonese, Mandarin and English to different extents, ranging from monolinguals to highly proficient trilinguals. For families who use Cantonese and Mandarin regularly at home, nurturing trilingual competence in the child through early exposure to English is a much-welcomed concept. Despite the widespread practice of introducing English to toddlers through daily interactions at home, it is not clear whether and to what extent the relatively small amount of English input provided by the child’s caretaker can stimulate acquisition of English and impact on the other two languages, which are still developing. The relation between language input and developmental outcome (“input-outcome relation”) is a key yet unresolved issue in psycholinguistic approaches to early trilingual development. For children being raised trilingually, their input in each language is likely to be reduced compared to their monolingual peers, but the few existing cases suggest that these children do not develop their languages more slowly than their monolingual and bilingual peers, and that the reported proportion of input in a language does not form a straightforward linear relation with the rate of acquisition in that language, pointing towards more accurate measures of input and a multi-factorial model of input-outcome relations. Building on the team’s previous research on bilingual children and a recent pilot study on a trilingual child, the proposed study investigates input-outcome relations in Cantonese-Mandarin-English trilingual children and their monolingual peers in Hong Kong and Guangzhou for two years from 1;00 to 3;00 (N = 35). Existing Cantonese-Mandarin bilingual infants will be introduced to a third language (English) through caretaker-child interactions from 1;00. The quantity and quality of the caretaker input and the child’s acquisition of the languages will be documented, assessed and correlated systematically through an array of methods including Language Input Diary, web-based caretaker-child interaction recording, standardized parental reports, as well as direct cognitive and language assessment. Our innovative use of web-based methods incurs lower costs and offers greater flexibility and has the potential to transform research on caretaker-child interactions. The resulting database will generate highly accurate measures of fine-grained aspects of both the input and the outcome while controlling for the child’s executive functioning. The findings will be a crucial step towards a multi-factorial model of input-outcome relations in trilingualism, and for the very first time empirically address the probing questions raised by parents who are nurturing Cantonese-Mandarin-English trilingual children at home.
香港和廣州的兒童都能夠在不同程度上使用粵語、普通話和英語,但是有些兒童只能流利使用其中一種語言,有些則能夠流利使用全部三種語言。對於那些已經在家中慣常使用粵語和普通話的家庭來説,很多家長都希望讓小孩儘早接觸英語,從而讓小孩發展出粵-普-英三語能力。雖然粵港兩地已經有很多家長和小孩在日常互動中使用英語,讓照顧小孩的家庭成員為小孩的英語發展提供語言輸入,但是這種英語輸入的數量與只講英語的單語家庭相比並不算多。這種少量的語言輸入能夠在多大程度上促進小孩的英語語言發展以及會否對他們尚未發展成熟的粵語和普通話產生負面影響?這個問題至今仍未研究清楚。在心理語言學理論框架下的早期三語研究中,語言輸入和語言發展成果的關係(“輸入-成果關係”)是一個非常關鍵但尚未完全解決的問題。如果小孩在家中接觸到三種語言,每一種語言他們得到的輸入都比對應的單語兒童少。但是現時僅有的少量關於三語兒童的研究表明,這些三語兒童的語言發展速度不一定會比相應的單語兒童慢,而且三種語言輸入的數量比例不一定與孩子的三語發展速度構成直接明確的綫性關係,説明我們需要更加精確地計算和衡量語言輸入的不同方面並建立一個綜合考慮多種因素的理論模型來預測三語發展的速度和路徑。本研究團隊曾進行大量關於粵-英雙語兒童的研究,最近也完成了對一個粵-普-英三語兒童的長期追蹤研究。以此為基礎,我們將展開一項關於香港和廣州的粵-普-英三語兒童及其對應的單語兒童的大型長期追蹤研究(共35名兒童),其中三語組的兒童需在1歲以前在家中已經接觸到粵語和普通話,並從1歲開始接觸英語。我們將會透過記錄他們1歲到3歲兩年間的三語發展來研究語言輸入與語言發展的關係。我們將使用語言輸入日記、家長報告、網絡互動錄影以及標準化語言及認知測試等一系列方法來記錄、評估和分析小孩的照顧者的語言輸入的數量和質量。其中使用網絡來搜集錄影數據是我們的創新做法,這種做法所需經濟成本較低、時間安排也更靈活,將有機會為語言輸入和語言發展領域帶來重要的方法論革新。本研究所建成的語言數據庫將有助於我們篩選出衡量語言輸入和語言發展成果的有效指標。這是我們建立一個有效預測三語發展的多因素模型的關鍵一步,也是學界首次以大量研究證據來回應粵-普-英三語幼兒家長所關心的問題。
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  SCREEN ID: SCRRM00542