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Bilingualism

Language Development

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Bilingualism

 

  • There is no particular universal definition of what bilingualism is, although Bloomfield suggests that Bilingualism is “native- like control of two languages”.

 

  • Bilingualism is developed through the process of language input, meaning that a language cannot sporadically appear in a child with out the particular language being present in their environment. There is a variety of ways that bilingual language development can be acquired. There can be two separate sources of input, for example, a child's mother could speak one language and their father could speak another language. Both of the child's parents could speak both languages being learned, or one language could be learned at home and the other learned at school. 

 

  • The amount of input a child receives ultimately influences the amount and quality of language developed in each separate language. Higher levels of a particular language will be acquired if a child is influenced by more than one language from birth, however a child is capable of learning languages without difficulty until age seven. After age seven language can still be learned and used well, it is just a slightly more difficult task.

 

  • Bilingualism directly relates to the nurture debate of language development in the fact that the ability to produce a second language is a product of input and not the genetics of a child’s parents. Bilingualism is independent of geographical heritance.