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37. Acquisition of Spanish in Bilingual Contexts


Subject Sociolinguistics » Bilingualism

Key-Topics acquisition, child language

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00039.x


Two major patterns in bilingual language acquisition have been identified in studies of bilingualism: simultaneous bilingualism and sequential bilingualism, but no agreement exists with respect to the age at which bilingual development would be considered to be sequential. In simultaneous bilingualism, the child acquires two languages at the same time from birth, or, as some researchers propose, before 3 years of age. Here, we use the term Bilingual First Language Acquisition (BFLA, or “2L1”) to refer to situations where the child's exposure to two languages begins before 6 months of age, that is, before the child produces the first identifiable word. This means that the question of the time of first exposure to the languages is eliminated in BFLA but not in sequential bilingualism, which may be further differentiated, depending on when acquisition of a second language begins, into: (a) successive bilingualism, when the child's exposure to a second language starts after the sixth month of age; and (b) bilingual second language acquisition (BSLA), a form of early bilingualism that happens when a child has one established language before learning a second language, whether in preschool or later (the age of three usually separates successive bilingualism and BSLA). This chapter focuses on the grammatical aspects of BFLA, that is, on the acquisition of two languages from birth; no detailed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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