Celebrating young indigenous Australian children's speech and language competence

Sharynne McLeod, Sarah Verdon, Laura Bennetts Kneebone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

World-wide it is important to recognize Indigenous children's speech and language competence and their language learning environments. Indigenous Australian children participated in the child cohort of Footprints in Time: Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, a national study supported by Indigenous Australians and the Australian Government collected annually (in waves). There were 692 3â''5-year-old children in wave 1, and two years later, 570 5â''7-year-old children were in wave 3 (77.0% of children in wave 1 were also in wave 3). Data were obtained via parent interviews and direct assessment. The children spoke between one and eight languages including: English (wave 1: 91.2%, wave 3: 99.6%), Indigenous languages (wave 1: 24.4%, wave 3: 26.8%), creoles (wave 1: 11.5%, wave 3: 13.7%), foreign languages (non-Indigenous languages other than English) (wave 1: 2.0%, wave 3: 5.1%), and sign languages (wave 1: 0.6%, wave 3: 0.4%). Children who spoke an Indigenous language were more likely to live in moderate to extreme isolation than their English-speaking counterparts. Parental concern about speech and language skills was similar to data for non-Indigenous children with approximately one quarter of parents expressing concern (wave 1: yes = 13.9%, a little = 10.4%). Children's language environments were rich, with many family members and friends telling oral stories, reading books, and listening to the children read. Almost a third of families wanted to pass on their cultural language, and many indicated that they would like their child to learn an Indigenous language at school. Overall, Indigenous Australian children have rich cultural and linguistic traditions and their speech and language competence is promoted through family, community, and educational experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-131
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Child Language
Mental Competency
Language
language
Sign Language
parents
Linguistics
Longitudinal Studies
Reading
foreign language

Grant Number

  • FT0990588

Cite this

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title = "Celebrating young indigenous Australian children's speech and language competence",
abstract = "World-wide it is important to recognize Indigenous children's speech and language competence and their language learning environments. Indigenous Australian children participated in the child cohort of Footprints in Time: Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, a national study supported by Indigenous Australians and the Australian Government collected annually (in waves). There were 692 3{\~A}¢''5-year-old children in wave 1, and two years later, 570 5{\~A}¢''7-year-old children were in wave 3 (77.0{\%} of children in wave 1 were also in wave 3). Data were obtained via parent interviews and direct assessment. The children spoke between one and eight languages including: English (wave 1: 91.2{\%}, wave 3: 99.6{\%}), Indigenous languages (wave 1: 24.4{\%}, wave 3: 26.8{\%}), creoles (wave 1: 11.5{\%}, wave 3: 13.7{\%}), foreign languages (non-Indigenous languages other than English) (wave 1: 2.0{\%}, wave 3: 5.1{\%}), and sign languages (wave 1: 0.6{\%}, wave 3: 0.4{\%}). Children who spoke an Indigenous language were more likely to live in moderate to extreme isolation than their English-speaking counterparts. Parental concern about speech and language skills was similar to data for non-Indigenous children with approximately one quarter of parents expressing concern (wave 1: yes = 13.9{\%}, a little = 10.4{\%}). Children's language environments were rich, with many family members and friends telling oral stories, reading books, and listening to the children read. Almost a third of families wanted to pass on their cultural language, and many indicated that they would like their child to learn an Indigenous language at school. Overall, Indigenous Australian children have rich cultural and linguistic traditions and their speech and language competence is promoted through family, community, and educational experiences.",
keywords = "Aboriginal, Bilingual, Children, Communication, Early childhood, Education, Indigenous, Language, Multilingual, Speech",
author = "Sharynne McLeod and Sarah Verdon and {Bennetts Kneebone}, Laura",
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year = "2014",
doi = "10.1016/j.ecresq.2013.11.003",
language = "English",
volume = "29",
pages = "118--131",
journal = "Early Childhood Research Quarterly",
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Celebrating young indigenous Australian children's speech and language competence. / McLeod, Sharynne; Verdon, Sarah; Bennetts Kneebone, Laura.

In: Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2014, p. 118-131.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Celebrating young indigenous Australian children's speech and language competence

AU - McLeod, Sharynne

AU - Verdon, Sarah

AU - Bennetts Kneebone, Laura

N1 - Includes bibliographical references.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - World-wide it is important to recognize Indigenous children's speech and language competence and their language learning environments. Indigenous Australian children participated in the child cohort of Footprints in Time: Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, a national study supported by Indigenous Australians and the Australian Government collected annually (in waves). There were 692 3â''5-year-old children in wave 1, and two years later, 570 5â''7-year-old children were in wave 3 (77.0% of children in wave 1 were also in wave 3). Data were obtained via parent interviews and direct assessment. The children spoke between one and eight languages including: English (wave 1: 91.2%, wave 3: 99.6%), Indigenous languages (wave 1: 24.4%, wave 3: 26.8%), creoles (wave 1: 11.5%, wave 3: 13.7%), foreign languages (non-Indigenous languages other than English) (wave 1: 2.0%, wave 3: 5.1%), and sign languages (wave 1: 0.6%, wave 3: 0.4%). Children who spoke an Indigenous language were more likely to live in moderate to extreme isolation than their English-speaking counterparts. Parental concern about speech and language skills was similar to data for non-Indigenous children with approximately one quarter of parents expressing concern (wave 1: yes = 13.9%, a little = 10.4%). Children's language environments were rich, with many family members and friends telling oral stories, reading books, and listening to the children read. Almost a third of families wanted to pass on their cultural language, and many indicated that they would like their child to learn an Indigenous language at school. Overall, Indigenous Australian children have rich cultural and linguistic traditions and their speech and language competence is promoted through family, community, and educational experiences.

AB - World-wide it is important to recognize Indigenous children's speech and language competence and their language learning environments. Indigenous Australian children participated in the child cohort of Footprints in Time: Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, a national study supported by Indigenous Australians and the Australian Government collected annually (in waves). There were 692 3â''5-year-old children in wave 1, and two years later, 570 5â''7-year-old children were in wave 3 (77.0% of children in wave 1 were also in wave 3). Data were obtained via parent interviews and direct assessment. The children spoke between one and eight languages including: English (wave 1: 91.2%, wave 3: 99.6%), Indigenous languages (wave 1: 24.4%, wave 3: 26.8%), creoles (wave 1: 11.5%, wave 3: 13.7%), foreign languages (non-Indigenous languages other than English) (wave 1: 2.0%, wave 3: 5.1%), and sign languages (wave 1: 0.6%, wave 3: 0.4%). Children who spoke an Indigenous language were more likely to live in moderate to extreme isolation than their English-speaking counterparts. Parental concern about speech and language skills was similar to data for non-Indigenous children with approximately one quarter of parents expressing concern (wave 1: yes = 13.9%, a little = 10.4%). Children's language environments were rich, with many family members and friends telling oral stories, reading books, and listening to the children read. Almost a third of families wanted to pass on their cultural language, and many indicated that they would like their child to learn an Indigenous language at school. Overall, Indigenous Australian children have rich cultural and linguistic traditions and their speech and language competence is promoted through family, community, and educational experiences.

KW - Aboriginal

KW - Bilingual

KW - Children

KW - Communication

KW - Early childhood

KW - Education

KW - Indigenous

KW - Language

KW - Multilingual

KW - Speech

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecresq.2013.11.003

DO - 10.1016/j.ecresq.2013.11.003

M3 - Article

VL - 29

SP - 118

EP - 131

JO - Early Childhood Research Quarterly

JF - Early Childhood Research Quarterly

SN - 0885-2006

IS - 2

ER -