Bilingual toddlers reap the language they sow: ethnic minority toddlers' childcare attendance increases maternal host language use

Marielle J. L. Prevoo, Judi Mesman*, Marinus H. Van IJzendoorn, Suzanne Pieper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated the development and correlates of language use in bilingual Turkish-Dutch immigrant mothers and their toddlers. In this short-term longitudinal study 87 mothers completed questionnaires on their Dutch and Turkish language use, ethnic identity and use of childcare. Observational data were obtained for maternal supportive presence and observed language use with the child. We found evidence that mothers who felt more strongly connected to the Turkish culture spoke more Turkish and less Dutch with their toddlers. The amount of Dutch that was used in mother-toddler communication increased significantly between the ages of two and three years. Mothers of children who started visiting childcare or who lived in a neighbourhood with a low percentage of non-western immigrants showed a larger increase in use of the Dutch language with their toddlers. Our findings emphasise the importance of contextual factors in determining language use in ethnic minority families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-576
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bilingual
  • toddlers
  • childcare
  • maternal language use
  • neighbourhood
  • immigrants
  • IMMIGRANT FAMILIES
  • NETHERLANDS
  • PROFICIENCY
  • ADOLESCENTS
  • PRESCHOOL
  • PATTERNS
  • IDENTITY

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