Bilingual advantages in early foreign language learning: Effects of the minority and the majority language
Holger Hopp, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany ; Markus Vogelbacher, Teresa Kieseier, Dieter Thoma, Universität Mannheim, Germany
Learning and Instruction Volume 61, Number 1, ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
This longitudinal study tests effects of minority and majority-language proficiency in the early foreign language learning of English in German primary schools. In a study with monolingual German and bilingual students who speak a minority language at home (N = 200), we find that the bilingual group scores lower than the monolingual group overall, yet bilingual students outperform monolingual German students in vocabulary and grammar in early foreign language learning, once socio-economic factors are controlled for. Vocabulary in the minority language acts as a significant predictor for early achievement in the foreign language for bilingual students. However, positive effects of bilingualism abate from grades 3 to 4, and proficiency in the majority language emerges as a significant predictor of English vocabulary. This change suggests that bilingual advantages wither unless they are explicitly fostered by teachers and educators.
Hopp, H., Vogelbacher, M., Kieseier, T. & Thoma, D. (2019). Bilingual advantages in early foreign language learning: Effects of the minority and the majority language. Learning and Instruction, 61(1), 99-110. Elsevier Ltd.