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Hristo Kyuchukov and Jill De Villiers

Theory of Mind and evidentiality in Romani-Bulgarian bilingual children

The paper reports two studies of the development of false belief reasoning in bilingual Roma children in Bulgaria. No previous work has considered Roma children. Two studies were conducted, and in the second study the Roma children spoke a dialect of Romani that contains evidential markers, as does Bulgarian, their second language. Results reveal no advantage of bilingualism, and similar results with age to that found in other groups across the world. The bilingual group had better understanding of evidentials than the monolingual Bulgarian group, possibly related to the linguistic character of the markings. There is contradictory evidence about the relation of ToM and understanding of evidentiality.

Open access

Hristo Kyuchukov

ABSTRACT

The paper presents research findings from research on Roma children and their acquisition of different grammatical categories in the Romani language. Results from three different studies with Roma children from Bulgaria are discussed: acquisition of mental state verbs (MSV), Bates-MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories (CDI) in Romani and subtests from DELV (Seymour, Roeper, & de Villiers, 2005). All the testing and research shows that Roma children follow the paths of normally developing children in their language development. Roma children are able to correctly use nouns, verbs, wh-questions and to assume different communicative roles.

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Hristo Kyuchukov, Jill de Villiers and Andrea Takahesu Tabori

Abstract

In this paper we make one major point: that Roma children in Europe need to be tested in their mother tongue before school placement. Roma children are in a particularly perilous position with respect to their education. We describe the problematic linguistic situation of Roma children, who are bilingual and often bidialectal, but are frequently evaluated in the language of the state for educational placement, a process that has been shown to significantly compromise their chance of success. We then review the considerable empirical evidence that bilingual children must be evaluated in both languages to give a fair assessment of their knowledge and skills. Furthermore, strength in the mother tongue has demonstrable transfer to skills in the second language. We provide a brief summary of a new assessment for Romani that has been used successfully to evaluate children aged 3 to 6 years, and present the results of a new study using it in Slovakia on 29 children aged 3 to 6 years.

Open access

William S. New, Hristo Kyuchukov and Jill de Villiers

Abstract

The Roma constitute an ideal case of educational injustice meeting linguistic difference, racism, social marginalization, and poverty. This paper asks whether human-rights or capabilities approaches are best suited to address issues related to the language education of Roma students in Europe. These children are disadvantaged by not growing up with the standard dialect of whatever language is preferred by the mainstream population, and by the low status of the Romani language, and non-standard dialect of the standard language they usually speak. We examine language education for Roma students in Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria, describing similarities and differences across contexts. We explain weak and strong version of language rights arguments, and the ways these principles are expressed, and not expressed in education policies. Sen’s capabilities approach can be employed to generate contextualized visions of education reform that speak directly to disadvantages suffered by Roma children.