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Bilingual Language Acquisition

Page history last edited by kathlyn.b.freeman@... 7 years, 8 months ago

Bilingual Language Acquisition



     There are two ways in which second languages are learned.  One is simultaneous acquisition and the other is sequential acquisition.  In simultaneous acquisition, the learner is presented with both languages at the same time and learns both of them.  This is most common among children who have a parent who speaks one language and the other parent speaks another language. The two languages are presented and developed simultaneously.  Sequential language acquisition is done when the learner already knows one language and later learns another language.  This is seen in children who speak one language at home and are then taught another in school.

     There is a theory that a “critical period” in which to learn a language exists.  If you miss out on this critical period, you will never acquire fluency in another language. What is actually observed is a gradual decline in ability to learn a new language as one ages. The younger a person is when he or she learns a new language, the more likely they are to pick up the subtle differences in pronunciation and sound fluent in a second language. However, there is no difference in depth of vocabulary as people generally learn new vocabulary in their native language as well as any learned language.  



Related Links


Simultaneous and Sequential Bilingualism  

Information about simultaneous and sequential bilingualism and factors that influence learning of a new language.


Myths About Bilingual Language Acquisition

Common myths about bilingual children and explanations as to why these are false.


Bilingual Children and Developmental Milestones

A study showing bilingual children reached language development milestones at the same times as monolingual children.


Language Acquisition and Language Delay

An in-depth look at simultaneous language acquisition and language delay.


Facts to Dispel the Myths

Facts about bilingual children in the United States and Canada that dispel common myths. 


Bilingual Baby Brain Development

Reports on differing brain activities in bilingual and monolingual children which suggest bilingual language acquisition in babies could change the plasticity of their brains.


Effects of Bilingual Learning

The effects of bilingual learning on cognitive development, lexical organization, word-learning, cognitive control, and neural organization.  


Benefits of the Two Methods of Learning

Comparing sequential and simultaneous language acquisition and benefits.


Case Studies of Bilingual Language Acquisition

Case studies of sequential and simultaneous bilingual children and advantages and disadvantages of both methods of learning.


Becoming Bilingual

Bilingual language acquisition later in life.










This website was created by Kathlyn Freeman. To the best of my knowledge, this material is not copyrighted. However, if there is a problem, please email me at kathlyn.b.freeman@live.mercer.edu.

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