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  • Publication
    First language maintenance and second language acquisition of a minority language in kindergarten
    (Cascadilla Press, 2001-01) ;
    In some minority language situations L2 learners are grouped in the same classrooms with L1 speakers of that language. While this practice is generally necessitated by low student numbers, it is also seen as offering an opportunity for L2 learners to interact with native speaker peers, which has been found to be advantageous for language learners (e.g. Harley, 1984, Day & Shapson, 1987). However, there is some evidence that this grouping may be disadvantageous for the L1 minority speakers: Mougeon & Beniak (1991) and M. Jones (1998a, 1998b) have pointed to markers of L2 interlanguage in the language of L1 minority children in immersion in Canada and Wales, showing L2 learners to be influencing L1 minority pupils’ syntax. The grouping together of L1 and L2 learners occurs in minority language situations such as Ireland, Wales and the Basque Country, as well as in parts of Canada, and in the U.S. in Two-Way Bilingual Programs. This study looks at language contact between English and the minority language Irish in Irish-medium pre-schools or naíonraí. It focuses on the language use of children from different backgrounds, in a situation where Irish is the target language.