Reanalysis of some effects of the mutual exclusivity constraint and their operation in bilingual children

Marina Kalashnikova, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

This study investigates the operation of the Mutual Exclusivity constraint in two groups of three-year-old children: monolingual Spanish speakers and bilingual Spanish-English speakers. Previous research has yielded controversial findings regarding the differences in the intra-lingual level operation of the constraint in monolingual and bilingual children. This investigation sheds light on the conflicting outcomes of previous studies by proposing that non-linguistic cognitive and processing abilities may account for the effects attributed to the constraint and that there may be observable differences in monolingual and bilingual children in the development of some—but not all—of these abilities. Although, this study yielded no significant differences attributable to bilingualism, it was found that children’s performance varies in the tasks designed to test different Mutual Exclusivity effects. Accordingly, Mutual Exclusivity effects should be related to both linguistic and cognitive development. Finally, methodological implications for future research on this issue are discussed.^

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Kalashnikova, Marina, "Reanalysis of some effects of the mutual exclusivity constraint and their operation in bilingual children" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1473872.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1473872

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