Young Learners Corpus
Learning French from ages 5, 7 and 11: An investigation into starting ages, rates and routes of learning amongst early foreign language learners
Learning French from ages 5, 7 and 11 is a project funded by the ESRC (grant) running from September 2009 until September 2011. The project co-directors are Florence Myles (Newcastle University) and Rosamond Mitchell (University of Southampton); Research Associates are Annabelle David (Newcastle), Sarah Rule (Southampton), Christophe dos Santos (Newcastle) and Kevin McManus (Newcastle).
The specific aims of the project are to:
- Document the development of linguistic competence among young classroom learners of French at three different starting ages, in primary and early secondary school classrooms, and identify similarities and differences.
- Compare rates of development at different ages after the same amount of classroom exposure
- Document and compare the classroom learning strategies used by children at different ages and their attitudes to language learning
- Through this evidence, contribute to theoretical understandings of second language acquisition among young learners, and consequently inform current primary language initiatives and educational practices in the UK and internationally.
20 young learners in each of Year 1 (5 year-olds), Year 3 (7 year olds) and Year 7 (11 year-olds) with no prior knowledge of French were identified in cooperating schools in the North East of England. By negotiation with the participating schools, we provided 38 hours of French language teaching for each of those three groups of learners. All language classes were recorded. In addition, testing of the learners’ French language proficiency took place at four different stages: a pre-test, a mid-project test, an end test and a delayed post-test.