Linguistics Colloquium: 3 talks on bilingualism

30/06/2020 - 14:00 - 15:30

Speakers: Sveta Fichman; Karen Rose & Elinor Saiegh-Haddad; Susan Joffe

Title: 3 talks on bilingualism


The last colloquium meeting of this year will host three of our current and past students for 3 short talks dealing with blinigualism.

Disfluencies in bilingual Russian-Hebrew children who do not stutter: A cross-linguistic perspective

Sveta Fichman

In bilingual children, disfluencies are manifested in both languages, but there is little research on their cross-linguistic nature. The purpose of the current research is to profile rate and types of disfluencies in spontaneous speech of bilingual children who do not stutter in both their languages and thus create a baseline to assess disfluency in Russian-Hebrew bilingual children. In addition, the relationship between language proficiency and frequency of disfluencies is assessed in both languages.

Spontaneous narratives based on Frog, Where Are You? [1] wordless picture book were collected from 45 bilingual Russian-Hebrew children aged 5;6-6;6 in both languages. Children’s language proficiency was assessed using tests normalized for bilinguals [2] [3]. The transcribed narratives were coded for stuttering-like disfluencies (SLD) and other disfluencies (OD) [4]. A new category of two function words repetition (al ha- [Hebrew] ‘on the’) was frequent in the data and was coded as a separate category. Rate of disfluencies was calculated dividing frequency of disfluencies by number of syllables.

Overall, 5% of disfluencies per 100 syllables were found in both Russian and Hebrew. Comparable rates of SLD (2% in both Russian and Hebrew) and OD (2% in Russian and 3% in Hebrew) were found for the two languages. However, SLD-type revealed cross-linguistic differences. Children had a significantly higher number of syllable repetitions in Hebrew than in Russian. For OD, a similar percentage emerged for whole-word repetitions, interjections, and revisions, but children repeated the two-function-words category significantly more in Hebrew. Language proficiency negatively correlated with SLD and OD in Russian, but not in Hebrew.

The findings provide evidence for cross-linguistic nature of SLD and OD in bilingual children who do not stutter in Russian and Hebrew and thus can be used in the assessment of stuttering. Language-specific OD types reflect typological features.

[1] Mayer, M. (1969). Frog, Where Are You? New York: Dial Press.
[2] Gagarina, N., Klassert, A., & Topaj, N. (2010) Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children. ZAS Papers in Linguistics, 54, Berlin: ZAS.
[3] Goralnik, E. 1995. Goralnik Diagnostic Test. Matan: Even Yehuda, Israel (in Hebrew).
[4] Ambrose, N. G., & Yairi, E. (1999). Normative disfluency data for early childhood stuttering. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 895–909.

Factors Influencing Parental Satisfaction of School Support for Bilingual Children with Dyslexia

Karen Rose & Elinor Saiegh-Haddad

Bilingual children with developmental dyslexia are exposed to a unique set of challenges and may face barriers to adequate school support. Parents can provide invaluable information that may help to improve educational services. Their involvement has also been associated with enhancing children’s well-being and educational success. This study aims to evaluate parents’ perspectives of current services that bilingual children with developmental dyslexia experience in school. Parental satisfaction of school support and a multitude of factors expected to influence their satisfaction levels are considered. Parents of 14 English-Hebrew speaking bilingual children aged 6-17 years old (M = 12, SD = 4.02) filled in an online questionnaire specifically designed for this study. In contrast to previous research on parental satisfaction that indicates that parents are typically positive about school support, the parents in this study present with mixed satisfaction rates. The factors most strongly associated with satisfaction levels include, teacher’s management of developmental dyslexia, school’s management of developmental dyslexia, and child’s proficiency of the societal language, Hebrew. In contrast, child’s chronological age, English proficiency, severity of developmental dyslexia, and factors regarding the identification of developmental dyslexia (i.e. age suspected of developmental dyslexia, age diagnosed with developmental dyslexia, and the difference the two) were very weakly or weakly correlated with satisfaction levels. Findings contribute to the literature on educational services for bilingual children with developmental dyslexia. They have implications for the education system and the services provided in schools for bilingual children with developmental dyslexia.

An Adult Migration Model of Second Language Motivation

Susan Joffe, Bar Ilan Univesity and Oranim College for Education

The importance of motivation in L2 learning has been studied extensively for over fifty years, contributing to our understanding of L2 motivation among high school and college students from many language backgrounds (Gardner 1959; Dörnyei & Ushioda 2009; Taguchi, Magid, & Papi, 2009; Papi 2010; Oakes 2013; Teimouri 2017; Al-Hourie 2018). However, little research has been devoted to the study of L2 motivation in adult immigrant populations. According to the United Nations International Migration Report (2017) there are 258 million international migrants worldwide, and their median age is 39. While the report does not provide data on linguistic displacement, many if not most immigrants find themselves living in countries where their first language is not the majority language. The present study was an attempt to gain a better understanding of L2 motivation among adult migrants, an understudied population.

This paper presents an L2 motivation model of adult immigrants (Joffe 2018). 300 adult L1 English-speaking immigrants to Israel (aged 19-70) responded to a 150 item questionnaire, which included 43 item L2 motivation questions, 7 Willingness to Communicate (WTC) questions (MacIntyre et al 2003) and 25 L1 and L2 daily language usage questions. All participants immigrated after the age of 18 (post-high school), and were resident in Israel between 1 and 51 years at the time of the study.
Confirmatory Factor Analysis yielded a three factor L2 motivation model: (1) attitudes toward the use of the Hebrew language, (2) attitudes toward interaction with Hebrew speakers, and (3) instrumental motivation.  For all three model factors, motivation decreased after the age of 40, as did WTC across social settings (dyads, small groups, and large groups). Age-related analysis showed that 30-39 years old reported making the greatest efforts to speak Hebrew proficiently, and reported using it more in their daily lives.

In contrast to recent models of L2 motivation (Al-Hoorie 2018), this model does not include aspirational, future-oriented goals. Instead, the model contains factors that reflect present satisfaction in using the second language and in interacting with L2 speakers. External judgments of others (the fear of rejection or criticism by peers or family because of low L2 proficiency), are nearly absent in this model. Instead, we find autonomous, intrinsic instrumental motivation and the desire to use the L2 for employment and logistical goals, both of which are consistent with Deci and Ryan's Self Determination Theory (2008).

The present findings extend our understanding of L2 motivational from students to immigrants and from adolescents and young adults across the lifespan of L2 learners. The differences between the current model and models of student motivation are explained by the participants' ages and life stages. Implications for research with diverse immigrant populations and older language learners are discussed.


Al-Hoorie, A. H. (2018). The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 8(4), 721-754.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 49(3), 182.
Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (Eds.). (2009). Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (Vol. 36). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Gardner, R. C., & Lambert, W. E. (1959). Motivational variables in second-language acquisition. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 13(4), 266.
Joffe, S. (2018). Identity, Motivation, Language Shift, and Language Maintenance (Doctoral dissertation, Bar Ilan University).
MacIntyre, P., Baker, S., Clément, R., & Donovan, L. (2003). Talking in order to learn: Willingness to communicate and intensive language programs. Canadian Modern Language Review, 59(4), 589-608.
Oakes, L. (2013). Foreign language learning in a ‘monoglot culture’: Motivational variables amongst students of French and Spanish at an English university. System, 41(1), 178-191.
Papi, M., & Abdollahzadeh, E. (2012). Teacher motivational practice, student motivation, and possible L2 selves: An examination in the Iranian EFL context. Language Learning, 62(2), 571-594.
Taguchi, T., Magid, M., & Papi, M. (2009). The L2 motivational self system among Japanese, Chinese and Iranian learners of English: A comparative study. In Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (Vol. 36). Bristol: Multilingual Matters., 66-97.
Teimouri, Y. (2017). L2 selves, emotions, and motivated behaviors. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 39(4), 681-709.
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017). International Migration Report 2017: Highlights (ST/ESA/SER.A/404).

Subscribe to our Telegram channel to get notified about upcoming talks and events