Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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Research on early script-learning has shown that young children produce a considerable variety of graphic forms in their spontaneous writing. Social semiotic theory aims to account for this variety by analysing the links between children’s sociocultural experience and their interpretation of written language as a visual sign system. This paper applies a social semiotic approach to a multilingual context, discussing texts produced by three- and four-year-olds in a nursery class, where the roleplay area was enriched with everyday literacy materials and parents were invited to write in different languages in the classroom. Evidence from a year’s fieldwork showed that children used a diversity of symbols throughout this period. Three factors were found to have explanatory significance: (a) awareness of the visual appearance of different types of text, (b) children’s current symbolic repertoire, and (c) their social identity as writers. Multilingual experience was incorporated into children’s exploration of how writing operated as a representational system.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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