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Cathy Lonngren-Sampaio(University of Hertfordshire)

The construction and exploitation of a computerised corpus of child bilingual language.

Abstract

This paper describes the process of the construction and exploitation of a computerised corpus of child bilingual language following the system of transcription and analysis of the CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System) project (MacWhinney, 2008), a data exchange system for child language originally developed at Carnegie University in The United States. The corpus is composed of transcriptions of the spoken language of two bilingual children who are learning Portuguese and English simultaneously. The data was collected through recordings carried out over a period of approximately two years which were then transcribed according to the conventions established by CHILDES. Decisions as to the choice of codes inserted are discussed at every step. Once constructed, several analyses were carried out on the corpus using the tools from CHILDES in order to illustrate, in general terms, the potential of a corpus transcribed according to the minimum conventions of the system. Due to the insertion of specific codes used to separate the two languages, it was possible to carry out more specific analyses which permitted the investigation of the use which the two children made of codeswitching, both from structural and pragmatic perspectives (Lonngren, 2004). The paper ends with a proposal for the replication of such corpus-led analyses on other sets of bilingual data thus permitting progress in discovering the role non-grammatical factors play in characterising the nature of performance data such as codeswitching.

Reference
Lonngren, C. (2004) A Investigacao da Alternancia de Codigo em um Corpus Eletronico de Linguagem Bilingue Infantil. CROP (Revista da Área de Língua e Literature Inglesa e Norte-Americana. Departamento de Letras Modernas.
USP: São Paulo, Brazil
MacWhinney, B. (2008) The CHILDES project. http://childes.psy.cmu.edu

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