The effect of bilingual secondary education on the acquisition of vocabulary and non-native phonemic contrasts

dc.contributor.advisorKoch, E.M.
dc.contributor.advisorvan Hout, R.W.N.M.
dc.contributor.authorVersaevel, Lisanne
dc.description.abstractThis thesis investigated how Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL, which in Dutch is called TTO for “tweetalig onderwijs” (bilingual education)) in Dutch secondary education affected pupils’ acquisition of English vocabulary and phonemic contrasts in English that are considered difficult for native Dutch speakers. Pupils were aged 12-16 and were all enrolled at the same high school, following either the monolingual track (Dutch) or the TTO track (Dutch and English). Two components of the same lexical decision task measured vocabulary size and phonemic discrimination ability, respectively. The performance on these two components was measured by means of both accuracy scores as well as d-prime scores in order to do a systematic comparison between both scores, allowing to assess which method of scoring should be preferred. An advantage of both TTO and school year was found for vocabulary size, with pupils who followed TTO performing better than non-TTO pupils and pupils in later school years outperforming pupils in lower years. No interaction effect was found for TTO and school year, indicating that TTO pupils already started out with a larger vocabulary size at the beginning of high school and maintained this lead, but did not improve more strongly over time than non-TTO pupils. Phonemic discrimination ability was measured with the /æ/-/ɛ/ vowel contrast and word-final voiced and unvoiced contrasts between fricatives and plosives. Remarkably, no main effects of TTO and school year were found for the pupils’ scores on phonemic discrimination ability, which indicates that TTO and nonTTO pupils scored similarly on phonemic discrimination of the tested items and that pupils did not improve over time. Overall, pupils performed best on words with plosives and scored similarly on the discrimination between vowels and fricatives, but generally, most pupils’ scores were low regardless of manner of articulation. A possible interpretation of the data is that CLIL does not offer enough exposure for pupils to implicitly learn to discriminate between difficult phonemic contrasts, or perhaps the quality of exposure is not sufficient. An additional possibility may be that, after a certain age, it is hard to improve one’s phonemic discrimination ability. Keywords: bilingual education, CLIL, phonemic discrimination, vocabulary size, second language acquisition, d-prime
dc.thesis.facultyFaculteit der Letteren
dc.thesis.specialisationspecialisations::Faculteit der Letteren::Researchmasters::Researchmaster Language and Communication
dc.thesis.studyprogrammestudyprogrammes::Faculteit der Letteren::Researchmasters
dc.titleThe effect of bilingual secondary education on the acquisition of vocabulary and non-native phonemic contrasts
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