Bilingualism Essay

673 WordsJul 22, 20123 Pages
Language acquisition is very similar for monolingual and bilingual children, although some experts view bilingualism as a specialized case of language development . Children growing up in homes where two different languages are spoken usually acquire both languages simultaneously. Although their acquisition of each language may be somewhat slower than that of children who are acquiring a single language, their development in the two languages combined is equivalent to that of monolingual children. Bilingual language learners proceed through the same patterns of language and speech development as children acquiring a single language. Their first words usually are spoken at about one year of age, and they begin stringing two words together at about age two. Even if the two languages do not share similarities in pronunciation, children eventually master them both. There are two major patterns of bilingual language development, both occurring before the age of three. Simultaneous bilingualism occurs when a child learns both languages at the same time. In the early stages of simultaneous bilingual language development, a child may mix words, parts of words, and inflections from both languages in a single sentence. Sometimes this occurs because a child knows a word in one language but not in the other. Some bilingual children initially resist learning words for the same thing in two languages. Children also may experiment with their two languages for effect. During the second stage of bilingual language development, at age four or older, children gradually begin to distinguish between the two languages and use them separately, sometimes depending on where they are. One language may be used less formally to talk about home and family , whereas the other language may be used more formally, perhaps for relating events that took place outside the home. Often children find

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