The paper investigates the way bilingual (Italian / French) teenagers manage textual cohesion when producing an oral narrative task. Our informants’ bilingualism is precocious since their second language, namely French, intervened at the age of about three. We studied three groups of subjects: a group of bilingual subjects and two reference groups of monolingual speakers that are necessary for the evaluation of the bilinguals narrations. One reference group consists of French speakers and the other consists of Italian speakers, interviewed in France and Italy respectively. The data have been elicited using the video clip The Finite Story (copyright by the Max-Planck Institute for Pyscholinguistics), in which three protagonists repeat the same actions or do the opposite of another character in different moments of the story. Since the stimulus involves a non prototypical flow of information, the informants have to exploit different linguistic devices in order to convey contrasts in the entity domain and the time domain or to maintain the predicative information. The bilingual subjects performed the task both in Italian and French. The starting point of our analysis is the works by Dimroth et al. (2010) and Giuliano (2012), authors who analysed The Finite Story narrations of German, Dutch, French, English and Italian adult native speakers, identifying some specific patterns of textual cohesion in each of the languages considered. Now with respect to these works, we aim at testing the results that the authors identified for French and Italian on our bilingual productions in order to answer the following questions: (a) do our bilingual subjects exploit the language specific patterns exploited by the monolingual subjects of the two languages in question for textual cohesion? (b) Alternatively, do they mix the cohesion patterns in question when using Italian or French? (c) Does one of the two patterns prevail by virtue of the possible “strong” character of one of the languages? The answers to the questions above will be discussed and interpreted by an intercultural perspective such as the one adopted by Giuliano (2007), according to which the referential mechanisms of interpretation typical of a specific language for a given textual genre cannot be wholly understood unless they are related to matters of intercultural pragmatics. As a matter of fact, speakers having at their disposal very similar linguistic means – such as native speakers of French and Italian – make different linguistic and textual cohesion choices with respect to the same content to convey in the same experimental condition of interaction (cf. The Finite Story experiment described above) for reasons that the grammatical facts cannot explain by themselves. Patterns of interaction and perspective-taking habits altogether with grammars can explain this state of things in a more satisfactory manner. So a way of becoming bilingual and of being “acculturated” (cf. Diaz-Rico and Weed 2006) and of evaluating the proficiency level of bilingual subjects lies in the consideration of the facts just described. Bibliography Diaz-Rico, L.T. / Weed, K.Z.,(2006), The Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development Handbook (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Dimroth, Christine, (2006), The Finite Story. Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics, http://corpus1.mpi.nl/ds/imdi_browser?openpath=MPI560350# Dimroth, Christine / Andorno, Cecilia / Benazzo, Sandra / Verhagen, Josie (2010), “Given claims about new topics. The distribution of contrastive and maintained information in Romance and Germanic Languages”, Journal of Pragmatics 42: 3328-3344. Giuliano, P. (2007), “Abilità descrittiva e coesione testuale in L1 e L2: lingue romanze e lingue germaniche a confronto”, Linguistica e Filologia 25: 125-206.

The building of textual cohesion in the narrations of bilingual children

Patrizia Giuliano
2020

Abstract

The paper investigates the way bilingual (Italian / French) teenagers manage textual cohesion when producing an oral narrative task. Our informants’ bilingualism is precocious since their second language, namely French, intervened at the age of about three. We studied three groups of subjects: a group of bilingual subjects and two reference groups of monolingual speakers that are necessary for the evaluation of the bilinguals narrations. One reference group consists of French speakers and the other consists of Italian speakers, interviewed in France and Italy respectively. The data have been elicited using the video clip The Finite Story (copyright by the Max-Planck Institute for Pyscholinguistics), in which three protagonists repeat the same actions or do the opposite of another character in different moments of the story. Since the stimulus involves a non prototypical flow of information, the informants have to exploit different linguistic devices in order to convey contrasts in the entity domain and the time domain or to maintain the predicative information. The bilingual subjects performed the task both in Italian and French. The starting point of our analysis is the works by Dimroth et al. (2010) and Giuliano (2012), authors who analysed The Finite Story narrations of German, Dutch, French, English and Italian adult native speakers, identifying some specific patterns of textual cohesion in each of the languages considered. Now with respect to these works, we aim at testing the results that the authors identified for French and Italian on our bilingual productions in order to answer the following questions: (a) do our bilingual subjects exploit the language specific patterns exploited by the monolingual subjects of the two languages in question for textual cohesion? (b) Alternatively, do they mix the cohesion patterns in question when using Italian or French? (c) Does one of the two patterns prevail by virtue of the possible “strong” character of one of the languages? The answers to the questions above will be discussed and interpreted by an intercultural perspective such as the one adopted by Giuliano (2007), according to which the referential mechanisms of interpretation typical of a specific language for a given textual genre cannot be wholly understood unless they are related to matters of intercultural pragmatics. As a matter of fact, speakers having at their disposal very similar linguistic means – such as native speakers of French and Italian – make different linguistic and textual cohesion choices with respect to the same content to convey in the same experimental condition of interaction (cf. The Finite Story experiment described above) for reasons that the grammatical facts cannot explain by themselves. Patterns of interaction and perspective-taking habits altogether with grammars can explain this state of things in a more satisfactory manner. So a way of becoming bilingual and of being “acculturated” (cf. Diaz-Rico and Weed 2006) and of evaluating the proficiency level of bilingual subjects lies in the consideration of the facts just described. Bibliography Diaz-Rico, L.T. / Weed, K.Z.,(2006), The Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development Handbook (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Dimroth, Christine, (2006), The Finite Story. Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics, http://corpus1.mpi.nl/ds/imdi_browser?openpath=MPI560350# Dimroth, Christine / Andorno, Cecilia / Benazzo, Sandra / Verhagen, Josie (2010), “Given claims about new topics. The distribution of contrastive and maintained information in Romance and Germanic Languages”, Journal of Pragmatics 42: 3328-3344. Giuliano, P. (2007), “Abilità descrittiva e coesione testuale in L1 e L2: lingue romanze e lingue germaniche a confronto”, Linguistica e Filologia 25: 125-206.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/782400
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