Effects of second language on motion event lexicalization: Comparison of bilingual and monolingual children's frog story narratives
This study investigates how children lexicalize motion event patterns in their first and second languages, L1-Turkish and L2-English. English is a satellite-framed language that conflates motion with manner expressed in the main verb and path in a non-verbal element, whereas Turkish is a verb-framed language that conflates motion with path in the main verb and expresses manner in a subordinated verb. We asked whether (1) learning a second language had an effect on children's event descriptions in their first language and (2) the effects were bidirectional. One-hundred-and-twelve 5- and 7-year-old monolingual (L1-Turkish) and bilingual (L1-Turkish; L2-English) children participated. Participants produced narratives for wordless picture book, Frog, where are you? Six scenes of the book were selected for coding purposes as they represented motion events: (1) Frog's exit from the jar, (2) Dog's fall from the window, (3) Gopher popping out of the hole, (4) Owl's exit from a nest, (5) Boy and dog falling down and (6) Boy and dog landing in a pond. For L1 descriptions, 5-year-old bilinguals used more manner-only and less path-only descriptions than monolinguals; no difference was found for 7-year-olds. For L2 descriptions, bilingual children used less Manner-only and more Path-only expressions in their L2 narratives compared to L1 narratives. These findings suggest that for 5-year-olds, exposure to second language had an impact on how motion events are encoded. Results inform us about the early interactions between L1 and L2 in motion event lexicalization.