Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

She Thinks in English, but She Wants in Mandarin: Differences in Singaporean Bilingual English-Mandarin Maternal Mental-state-talk

Version 1 : Received: 16 March 2020 / Approved: 17 March 2020 / Online: 17 March 2020 (09:10:04 CET)

How to cite: Cheng, M.; Setoh, P.; Bornstein, M.H.; Esposito, G. She Thinks in English, but She Wants in Mandarin: Differences in Singaporean Bilingual English-Mandarin Maternal Mental-state-talk. Preprints 2020, 2020030273 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0273.v1). Cheng, M.; Setoh, P.; Bornstein, M.H.; Esposito, G. She Thinks in English, but She Wants in Mandarin: Differences in Singaporean Bilingual English-Mandarin Maternal Mental-state-talk. Preprints 2020, 2020030273 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0273.v1).

Abstract

Chinese-speaking parents are argued to use less cognitive mental-state-talk than their English-speaking counterparts due to their goals in socializing their children to follow an interdependence script. To extend this research, we investigated bilingual Mandarin-English Singaporean mothers who associate different functions for each language as prescribed by their government: English for school and Mandarin for in-group contexts. English and Mandarin maternal mental-state-talk from bilingual Mandarin-English mothers with their toddlers was examined. Mothers produced more cognitive terms in English than in Mandarin and more desire terms in Mandarin than in English. We show that mental-state-talk differs between bilingual parents’ languages, suggesting that mothers adjust their mental-state-talk to reflect each language’s function.

Subject Areas

bilingualism; mental-state-talk; socialization

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