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Simultaneous Bilingualism

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Amanda Yu

on 3 December 2012

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Transcript of Simultaneous Bilingualism

Amanda Yu
PSGE 6602 Simultaneous Bilingualism
in Infancy & Early Childhood What is simultaneous bilingualism? What is it and why is this important?

What has been found by past & present research/literature?

What are the advantages & challenges? *Definition: when a child simultaneously acquires two languages (L1 + L2) during the first years of life.

-a complex and multi-dimensional concept when compared to monolingualism

-considered multiple first-language development Past Research Before 1960s, most studies found L2 presence to be a disadvantage, & lead to delays in language development.

Frequent switching between languages was attributed to language confusion in infants.
resulted from parents’ mixed language use in communicating with their infants. Present Research “very early simultaneous language exposure does not cause a young child to be delayed with respect to the semantic and conceptual underpinnings at the heart of all natural language...” (Petitto and Holowka, 2002, p. 23, as cited in King & Fogle, 2006).

-Early bilinguals (age of first exposure 0–3 years) outperformed other bilingual groups (age of first exposure 3–6 years) in language acquisition & development. Advantages
Learned language skills are transferable between L1 & L2
Bilinguals showed more advanced processing of verbal material (phonological/word awareness), leading to higher processing skills in reading acquisition in 1st grade)

Code-switching between L1 & L2 is a sign of mastery of two linguistic systems and these cognitive advantages are evident in executive control processes, such as selective attention

high levels of home language competency (related to literacy and schooling) put students at an academic advantage

*Dual-language competencies are highly valuable in today’s job force.
employment advantages & value in the midst of globalization
Future Directions In general, there is not enough research on bilingual children, especially for simultaneous, early acquisition.

-Specific language pairs & effects on early language development
which languages result in better outcomes, and why? what aspects of language are responsible? & Future Directions? Akbulut, Y. (2007). Bilingual acquisition and cognitive development in early childhood: Challenges to the research paradigm. Elementary Education Online, 6(3), 422-429.

Bosch, L., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2003). Simultaneous bilingualism and the perception of a language-specific vowel contrast in the first year of life. Language and Speech, 46(2-3), 217-243. doi:10.1177/00238309030460020801

Genesee, F. (1989). Early bilingual development: One language or two? Journal of Child Language, 16, 161-179. doi:10.1017/S0305000900013490

Genesee, F. (2009). Early childhood bilingualism: Perils and possibilities. Journal of Applied Research on Learning, 2(2).

King, K., & Fogle, L. (2006). Raising bilingual children: Common parental concerns and current research. In CALdigest. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved from http://www.cal.org

Kovelman, I., Baker, S. A., & Petitto, L. (2008). Age of first bilingual exposure as a new window into bilingual reading development. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 11(2), 203-223. doi:10.1017/S1366728908003386

Meisel, J. M. (2004). The bilingual child. In T. K. Bhatia & W. C. Ritchie (Eds.), The handbook of bilingualism (pp. 91–113). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Oades-Sese, G., Esquivel, G., Kaliski, P., & Maniatis, L. (2011). A longitudinal study of the social and academic competence of economically disadvantaged bilingual preschool children. Developmental Psychology, 47(3), 747-764. doi:10.1037/a0021380

Pearson, B. Z., Fernández, S. C., & Oller, D. K. (1993). Lexical development in bilingual infants and toddlers: Comparison to monolingual norms. Language Learning, 43, 93–120.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-1770.1993.tb00174.x

Quay, S. (2003). Review: Cross­linguistic structures in simultaneous bilingualism. Journal of Child Language, 30(4), 925-930. doi:10.1017/S0305000903215932 References Why is simultaneous bilingualism an important/relevant concept? Our professional influence can play a powerful, positive role in shaping parents' beliefs and actions.

Accurate knowledge of SB promotes more effective parenting

Bilingualism (NOT monolingualism) is the global trend, and closer to being the norm.

Common issues for parents: desire to maintain connections to own cultural background, & promote cross-cultural understanding and communication in their children. Since SB is more common in minorities and immigrants, data from past studies were often misrepresented & biased due to confounding factors
within the populations.

External factors were mostly SE & sociocultural:
advantaged-middle class children were used for the control group, &
disadvantaged immigrant minorities were used for the experimental group Sociocultural Factors -Children growing up in socioeconomically-advantaged families...
are exposed to more different words, and
acquired more extensive vocabulary skills

Thus, simply exposure is not enough; it is the quality of exposure that influences language development.

When studies conducted after the 1960s controlled for the confounding variable of sociocultural differences, L2 user children showed advantages over monolingual children. Bilinguals versus Monolinguals Monolingual & bilingual children meet major language developmental milestones at similar times.

Other elements of language development progress in synchrony as well, including the rate/level of grammatical competence. human interaction is best method for fostering L2 language learning
one-parent, one-language approach to bilingual child-rearing is most effective.
[Each caregiver uses only one language with the child and parents refrain from using two languages in the same conversation.]


*Parents’ concerns should be focused on the total quantity and quality of exposure to both languages that their child receives. Best Practices Lexical elements of the two languages are found to be both separate and interacting throughout the bilingual development process for children.


In a 2009 study by Fred Genesee:
Bilingual children in the one- and early two-word stages of development were found to be able to use their languages differentially and appropriately with others; with different parents, strangers, etc.
Ability to constantly adjust rates of code-mixing Sociocultural Factors Separation of L1 & L2? Early (versus later) bilingual exposure is best for dual language reading development
Its powerful positive impact on reading & language development has shown it may possibly ameliorate the negative effect of low SES on literacy.


Cognitive and educational benefits have been found from even a small amount of early bilingual exposure
(ex. once weekly) Benefits of Early Exposure Challenges Since bilingualism is multi-dimensional, it can not & should not be treated as a single, independent variable.


LANGUAGE & COGNITION are interdependent, not independent. -education level & language of parents

-literacy environment that child is exposed to

-extent of child’s proficiency in first language

-purpose of learning the second language

-degree of community support for each language What factors affect
bilingual acquisition? *Professionals should help provide bilingual children with as many opportunities as possible to use both languages.
help parents focus on the quantity and quality of bilingual exposures

We should encourage use of two languages at home, as a “safe space” for the minority language to flourish.
Bilingualism is an important resource for the child, family, and community. Implications (Bialystok 2002, as cited in Akbulut, 2007) (Bialystok 2002, as cited in Akbulut, 2007) (Kovelman, Baker, & Petitto, 2008) (Akbulut, 2007) (Genesee, 2009) (Akbulut, 2007) (Genesee, 2009) (Akbulut, 2007) (Quay, 2003; Genesee, 1989) (Genesee, 2009) (King & Fogle, 2006) (Meisel, 2004) (Kovelman, Baker, & Petitto, 2008, p. 203) (Akbulut, 2007) (Genesee, 1989) (King & Fogle, 2006) (King & Fogle, 2006) (Akbulut, 2007) (Meisel, 1987) (King & Fogle, 2006) Bilingual acquisition is as natural for infants as monolingual acquisition. (King & Fogle, 2006)
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