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Continuous Testing of Communicative Competence in Children Exposed to a FL

A Study in Kindergarden

Michele Daloiso    Università degli Studi di Parma, Italia    



The present paper discusses the result of a research study involving a group of five-year-olds who had been informally exposed to a foreign language (English or German) for the previous three years in some nursery schools in the Autonomous Province of Trento, Italy. The study investigates the benefits of early sensitization to foreign languages in pupils’ abilities in terms of listening comprehension, communicative strategies and speech acts by introducing a systematic task-based procedure for data collection. The results suggest that after prolonged exposure to a new language almost all the participants were able to understand a story and physically respond to common commands. Moreover, some pupils were already trying to speak the language and showed interesting trends in the development of communicative strategies and speech acts. The study has important implications not only for preschool teaching practice but also for language teaching research in this field, as it highlights the importance of systematic data collection on preschoolers’ competence in foreign languages for elaborating data-driven methodologies.

Nov. 1, 2015

Keywords: Early foreign language learningAssessmentPreschool educationSensitization to languages

Copyright: © 2015 Michele Daloiso. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.