There are many children who start to speak well before the age of two.
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However, the second birthday usually coincides with children's production of short sentences, and certainly, if children are not speaking at all by the age of two, this is cause for concern. So far, there is no terminology to refer to early language learning contexts in which children start out hearing just one language but very soon, in the first year of life, are confronted with a second language. And, more importantly, does these children's language development look more like that of BFLA children with input in two languages from birth, or does it look more like the development of children who started hearing a second language at age one and a half?
The answers to these questions are not clear and studies have yet to systematically investigate this issue. Since there are major differences between 'clearly' MFLA, BFLA and ESLA children in the early language skills they develop and in the timing of their overall linguistic development, it is to be expected that children with initial monolingual input but very early input in a second language will, in fact, exhibit some important differences in their initial acquisition stages compared to the language development of BFLA children and to that of ESLA children.
Even though there are quite major differences between MFLA, BFLA and ESLA children in the number of languages they know and in the timing of their initial knowledge of these languages, there are also many similarities between these three types of early language development.
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The emphasis in this book is not on comparing these three types. However, where relevant and appropriate I will note similarities and differences in so far as they are known. If children hear two languages spoken to them from birth, they will most likely hear them within the extended family. As such, the family is the primary socializing agent for the development of BFLA. There are, of course, many different kinds of families, and children grow up in many different kinds of family settings see the end of this section and also Chapter 4.
The typical BFLA situation is one where a child's parents are speakers of different languages and speak those languages when addressing the baby. The chances are that during pregnancy the unborn infant was hearing two languages, both as spoken by the mother and as spoken by people in close proximity to the mother see Chapter 5. But it is equally possible that up until the child's birth only one language was used, and that the birth of the child brought with it a change in the patterns of language choice see further Chapter 4.
Childless monolingual couples often become instant bilingual families upon the birth of their first child. This is most often the case when children are born to couples where the spouses have different language backgrounds but speak only one language between them. After the birth of the baby one of the spouses then starts speaking another language to the infant, and continues using the other language in addressing the other parent.
Alternatively, parents-to-be may both be bilingual and speak two languages at home. When the baby arrives, this pattern is just continued. There are also situations where bilingual couples decide to address their infant in just one language, thereby effectively blocking the possibility of BFLA see Chapter 4. At the other end of the spectrum, monolingual parents may hire a nanny or 'au pair' out of the desire to raise their child with two languages from the very beginning.
It depends very much, then, on whether parents start speaking two languages to their baby whether a child will be raised in a BFLA setting or not. For some parents, it is a conscious decision to raise their child with two languages. For many, however, speaking two languages at home is just a matter of course and not a matter of choice, very much the way that it is not a real 'choice' for completely monolingual parents to address their newborn child just in the one language they happen to know.
Not all children are born into a family that has at its core a parent pair. Their mother may be single and raise the new child on her own. Children may be given up for adoption and be institutionalized immediately after birth. BFLA is also possible in these exceptional circumstances. However, the bilingual acquisition literature almost exclusively looks at children who are born to a set of biological parents and who live with their families. Thus, this scenario will also be the focus in this book.
Parents may transfer part of the care for their young children to other people such as grandparents or nannies. Nevertheless, parents remain a central part of children's lives, whether directly or indirectly. In most societies, parents decide about their children's residence and education, even if such decisions are implicit, for instance, when parents do not change their residence once a child is born. Of course, children usually meet up with other individuals besides their parents, and are influenced by these people as well. In Chapter 4 I discuss in more detail the various bilingual first language acquisition learning contexts and the role that families play in the creation and perpetuation of bilingual development.
We do not know much at all about the history of BFLA in centuries past, nor about how widespread the phenomenon was or is.
Census and survey data can only indirectly reveal anything about children's linguistic environments. There are most likely large differences between societies in the proportion of BFLA children, depending on how common bi- and multilingualism is in the society as a whole.
This means that when mothers' and fathers' home language use is combined, two languages are spoken by the parent pair. Because of a lack of information generally on the languages that young children hear at home, it is impossible to provide reliable estimates for other areas or countries. However, if you consider that Belgium has seen a lot of immigration since the s and is demographically similar to many Western and Northern European countries, the situation in such other countries in Europe is probably quite similar.
Studies in France and the Netherlands that have looked at home language use by children and teens confirm this general idea Deprez, ; Extra et al. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Increasingly, children grow up hearing two languages from birth. This comprehensive textbook explains how children learn to understand and speak those languages. It brings together both established knowledge and the latest findings about different areas of bilingual language development. It also includes new analyses of previously published materials.
The book describes how bilingually raised children learn to understand and use sounds, words and sentences in two languages. A recurrent theme is the large degree of variation between bilingual children.
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This variation in how children develop bilingually reflects the variation in their language learning environments. Positive attitudes from the people in bilingual children's language learning environments and their recognition that child bilingualism is not monolingualism-times-two are the main ingredients ensuring that children grow up to be happy and expert speakers of two languages.
An Introduction to Bilingual Development by Annick De Houwer | eBay
She is also the new Director of the Language Center there. Her PhD was based on a dissertation on bilingual acquisition, a topic she has since continued to work on steadily. De Houwer has also published on Dutch child language, attitudes towards child language, teen language, and intralingual subtitling. She has extensive editorial experience. The process The fact that BFLA children hear Language A and Language Alpha from birth does not necessarily mean that they will actually learn to speak these two languages.
The family as the primary socialization unit for BFLA If children hear two languages spoken to them from birth, they will most likely hear them within the extended family.
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Is BFLA a common phenomenon? Excerpted by permission of Multilingual Matters. All rights reserved.
No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. Show More. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. This work critically addresses the age debate in second language acquisition studies, presenting an in-depth This work critically addresses the age debate in second language acquisition studies, presenting an in-depth study of factors that predict foreign accent.
Quantitative and qualitative analyses confirm that cognitive, social, and psychological factors contribute to attainment, and that biological influences View Product. Borchardt Library, Melbourne Bundoora Campus. Open to the public ; Monash University Library. Open to the public ; D Kelvin Grove Campus Library. Shellharbour City Library Service. Open to the public Held. The University of Melbourne Library. University of Queensland Library.
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