University of Oulu

Quick AE, Gaskins D and Frick M (2021) Priming of Frames and Slots in Bilingual Children’s Code-Mixing: A Usage-Based Approach. Front. Psychol. 12:726764. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.726764

Priming of frames and slots in bilingual children’s code-mixing : a usage-based approach

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Author: Endesfelder Quick, Antje1; Gaskins, Dorota2; Frick, Maria3
Organizations: 1Faculty of Philology, Institute of British Studies, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
2School of Education, Communication and Society, King’s College London, University of London, London, United Kingdom
3Department of Languages and Literature, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-25


This article investigates the role of direct input in the code-mixing of three bilingual children aged 2–4 years acquiring English as one language, and either German, Polish, or Finnish as the other. From a usage-based perspective, it is assumed that early children’s utterances are item-based and that they contain many lexically fixed patterns. To account for such patterns, the traceback method has been developed to test the hypothesis that children’s utterances are constructed on the basis of a limited inventory of chunks and frame-and-slot patterns. We apply this method to the code-mixed utterances, suggesting that much of the code-mixing occurs within frame-and-slot patterns, such as Was ist X? as in Was ist breakfast muesli? “What is breakfast muesli?” We further analyzed each code-mixed utterance in terms of priming. Our findings suggest that much of the early code-mixing is based on concrete lexically fixed patterns which are subject to input occurring in immediately prior speech, either the child’s own or that of her caregivers.

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Series: Frontiers in psychology
ISSN: 1664-1078
ISSN-E: 1664-1078
ISSN-L: 1664-1078
Volume: 12
Article number: 726764
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.726764
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
Funding: We acknowledged the support from University of Leipzig for Open Access Publishing. The study was partly conducted as a part of the Academy of Finland project Linguistic and bodily involvement in multicultural interactions.
Copyright information: © 2021 Quick, Gaskins and Frick. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.