PhD students' research profiles

Marie Fournier

Scottish independence and linguistic identity in the Scottish Parliament
marie.fournier@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Supervisors: Lynn Clark, Kevin Watson

Mineko Shirakawa

  • MA with First Class Honours in Linguistics (University of Canterbury)
  • GradDip in Arts with Distinction (Lingistics) (University of Canterbury)
  • LLB (Waseda University, Japan)

Working title:

The impact of language internal and external factors on simultaneous bilingual acquisition of Japanese in Japanese-Brazilian Portuguese bilingual children

Primary supervisor:

  • Dr Heidi Quinn (Primary)
  • Dr Susan Foster-Cohen (Co-supervisor)
  • Dr Masayoshi Ogino (Associate supervisor)

Contact details:

mineko.shirakawa@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Room 209, Locke Building
Phone: +64 3 364 2987, ext 7520
Internal Phone: 7520

Thesis summary

My research interest is in bilingual first language acquisition. More than half of the world's population is reckoned to be bilingual. Generative grammar postulates that children are equipped to acquire any human languages which they have been sufficiently exposed to from birth. When there are two distinct languages in the input from birth, both languages are considered to be acquired as first languages. In fact, however, “balanced” bilingualism may be the exception. One language will typically be stronger, and the bilingual child will tend to prefer one of the languages. Language preferences may change repeatedly over the life time of a bilingual speaker.

I investigate the impact of three linguistic factors on simultaneous bilingual acquisition: parental attitudes towards bilingualism, quantity and quality of input, and cross-linguistic influence, and I try to identify whether there are any differences between monolingual and bilingual children in terms of morphological case marking acquisition of Japanese. My study focuses on Japanese-Brazilian Portuguese bilingual children living in Japan and uses four methods of data collection: a questionnaire, recording spontaneous language samples, structured interviews, and structured data elicitation.

Publications:

  • Shirakawa, M. (2014). How Japanese-English bilingual children process morphological case markings in the head-final language under the influence of the head-initial language. Harvard University, Cambridge, USA: International Workshop on Children's Acquisition and Processing of Head-Final Languages, 5 November 2014. (Conference Contribution - Poster presentation)
  • Shirakawa, M. (2013). Experimental study of morphological case marking knowledge in Japanese-English bilingual children. Singapore: The 9th International Symposium on Bilingualism, 10-13 Jun 2013. (Conference Contribution - Paper presentation)
  • Shirakawa, M. (2013). Simultaneous bilingual first language acquisition: A case study of English-Japanese bilingual children in Christchurch. Working papers from NWAV Asia-Pacific 2. Retrievable from http://www.ninjal.ac.jp/socioling/nwavap02/working-papers.html
  • Shirakawa, M. (2012). Experimental study of morphological case marking patterns in Japanese-English bilingual children. Auckland, New Zealand: The 13th Language and Society Conference, 27-28 Nov 2012. (Conference Contribution - Paper presentation)
  • Shirakawa, M. (2012). Bilingual first language acquisition: A case study of English-Japanese bilingual children in Christchurch. Tokyo, Japan: The 2nd annual meeting of New Ways of Analyzing Variation and Change in the Asia-Pacific Region, 1-4 Aug 2012. (Conference Contribution - Poster presentation)
  • Shirakawa, M. (2012). Bilingual first language acquisition: A case study of English-Japanese bilingual children in Christchurch. Auckland, New Zealand: The 2nd Auckland Postgraduate Conference on Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, 30 Jun 2012. (Conference Contribution - Paper presentation)
  • Connell, T., Rennell, E., Shirakawa, M. and Quinn, H. (2011). A case for Voice. Wellington, New Zealand: The Linguistics Society of New Zealand 19th Biennial Conference, 17-18 Nov 2011. (Conference Contribution - Poster presentation)

Keyi Sun

  • 2009 BA (Hon) in Linguistics (Canterbury, New Zealand)

Working title:

Language embodiment and language in body movement: testing temporal metaphor across different language speakers.

Supervisors:

  • Jen Hay (Primary)
  • Lucy Johnston (Co-supervisor)

Contact details:

keyi.sun@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Room 209, Locke Building
Phone: +64 3 364 2987 ext 7520
Internal Phone: 7520

Thesis summary

Languages are not only different regarding their structures such as syntax and phonology; however, based on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, it is believed that our fundamental understanding of the world is shaped by the languages we speak. In my research, I study the fundamental concept of the relationship between time and space: temporal metaphor. The correlation between time and space give time its unique property: time can have dimensions and time can have directions. Human languages describe time in similar ways, but the difference is that some languages choose certain dimensions and directions and other languages choose other ways. In the current study, I argue that:

The fundamental understanding of abstract concept such as time can be learned through learning another language by examining bilingual speakers.
Time’s similar property to space gives time spatial meanings, which can be found in human body movement.
The study will make contribution to the language-concept transfer theory and language embodiment theory. It also will provide us with the new idea of methodology by using modern technology such as body motion tracking system, GPS satellite tracking device and touchpad computer in experimental psycholinguistics.