Living in simultaneous worlds: difference and integration in bilingual script-learning

Kenner, Charmian. 2004. Living in simultaneous worlds: difference and integration in bilingual script-learning. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 7(1), pp. 43-61. ISSN 13670050 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper proposes that young children who are growing up in a bilingual and biliterate environment may, at a fundamental level, experience their worlds not as separate linguistic and cultural entities but as 'simultaneous'. The data comes from a study of 6-year-olds in London who were learning to write in Chinese, Arabic or Spanish as well as English. Whilst being able to differentiate between their two writing systems, the children also sought connections between multiple systems of representation. They saw graphic symbols as 'signifier material' which could transform in meaning across systems. When making a text, the children had an expanded range of semiotic resources from which they could choose in order to represent and construct their identities as writers. The paper discusses how children's use of graphic representation showed that they were able both to maintain difference and to achieve integration.

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Educational Studies


January 2004Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:41

Last Modified:

07 Dec 2012 12:51

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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