An essay portraying a basic understanding of bilingualism in children, including definitions, adavantages and disadvantages, and critical ages in which learning is best.

Essay by NathronolHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2003

download word file, 2 pages 4.7

Downloaded 106 times

Bilingualism Log

Someone who is bilingual has the ability to use two languages, especially with equal fluency. According to the 1990 United States Census, about 31.8 million people speak a language other than English in their home. Numerous researchers agree that children exposed to a second language at an early age will naturally put both languages to use. Children will often go through periods of blending the two languages. This occurs because children may find it difficult to express an idea with words of one language, and may find it easier to convay their message in the other. Also, one language may be considered for informal use, while another language, spoken outside of the home, will be more formal. A separation of the two languages is a gradual process, and there will often be periods when one language will be put to use more often then the other. Children have the capacity to develop new language more naturally than do adults.

Children who learn more than one language before adolescence, will acquire those languages with more ease than they would trying to study those languages as adults. It is true that many bilingual children are not balanced bilinguals, using each of their languages with equal ability. Bilingual children do acquire their dominant language to an ability equal of that of their monolingual peers. How well a bilingual child develops their second language can vary from a child who only knows a few phrases and some very basic vocabulary in a second language, to a child who listens and understands, but cannot or perhaps will not speak, to a balanced bilingual child who communicates in both languages with the same command as monolingual peers in both languages.

Researchers have documented that children with the ability to speak multiple languages have...