An examination of written expression in bilingual students' ‘non-academic’ language: Assessment of sense of story structure and interlinguistic transfer

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Four classes of bilingual children from grades three and five, speakers of Spanish and Náhuatl (in central Mexico), participated in a study of literacy development focused on interlinguistic transfer and the application of narrative schemata as seen in writing samples produced in both languages. The paper reports on: 1) a methodological approach that appears to be relatively effective in eliciting connected discourse in an indigenous language which normally does not form part of classroom literacy instruction; 2) borrowing and code-switching features in students’written production, in contrast with the application of discourse and text organization strategies available to bilinguals in either language. The assessment of indigenous bilingual students’language and literacy development is discussed, with particular consideration given to the circumstances of the classroom teacher who may not be proficient in the community's language, a situation that is typical of the majority in indigenous community schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-214
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics (United Kingdom)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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