Autonomy in simultaneus bilingualism: evidence from an English-Spanish bilingual child

This study examines the simultaneous bilingual acquisition of English and Spanish by a boy from age 1;2.0 to 2;3.3. Transcripts and diary recordings were examined in order to establish the way in which phonological, lexical, morphological, syntactic, and pragmatic skills developed in the child'...

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Autor Principal: Vásquez Carranza, Luz Marina
Formato: Artículo
Idioma: Inglés
Publicado: Universidad de Costa Rica 2007
Acceso en línea: http://revistas.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/kanina/article/view/4581
http://hdl.handle.net/10669/20724
Sumario: This study examines the simultaneous bilingual acquisition of English and Spanish by a boy from age 1;2.0 to 2;3.3. Transcripts and diary recordings were examined in order to establish the way in which phonological, lexical, morphological, syntactic, and pragmatic skills developed in the child's speech. The child's development was contrasted to that in monolingual English and Spanish-speaking children of comparable ages, and the results evidenced an analogous progress at the phonological and morpho-syntactic levels, which suggests language autonomy. The child's rate of translation equivalents was also analyzed, as well as his rate of mixing and whether these were grammatically constrained. The boy started making use of translation equivalents as soon as these were available in his speech, and by and large, his mixing resulted from lack of equivalents in the two languages. He always used more of the interlocutor's language and was able to correct himself and to use the appropriate language after his interlocutor prompted him to do so. Furthermore, the child's mixing never evidenced any violations to the grammatical constraints that apply to adult language mixing. The latter observable facts also suggest an autonomous development of the two languages.