Non-Fiction Books:

Bilingual Acquisition

Theoretical Implications of a Case Study


Paperback / softback

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Bilingual Acquisition by Margaret Deuchar
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This book presents the findings of a case study in bilingual acquisition and explores their implications for theories of first- and second-language acquisition. The authors focus on the emergence of two languages - Spanish and English - during one child's second year of life, and examine the process of language learning from the perspectives of phonology, lexicon, syntax, and language choice. The theoretical questions addressed by the authors include whether phonological distinctions can be acquired on acoustic evidence alone; whether lexical acquisition involves an avoidance of synonymy (not necessarily, the authors suggest); whether all words in early two-word utterances can be assigned to lexical categories; and how early children are able to make appropriate language choices. They also consider the implications of their research for bilingual acquisition, including the questions of whether a bilingual child has one or two linguistic systems; the criteria which should be used in identifying one versus two systems; and the most important determinants of language choice - the identity of the interlocutor, for example, or the location and context of the conversation? This is an original contribution to the field of early bilingual acquisition and to theoretical work in language acquisition. The authors' finely observed results and the implications they draw from them will be of interest to those working in linguistics, psychology, and related fields, both theoretical and applied, concerned to understand the human ability to acquire language and the evolution of a young child's mind.

Author Biography

Margaret Deuchar is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. After obtaining her undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge and her Ph.D. at Stanford University in California, she held posts at the universities of Lancaster, Sussex, and Cambridge before moving to Bangor. Previous books include English Grammar for Today (Macmillan 1982, with co-authors Geoffrey Leech and Robert Hoogenraad), British Sign Language (Routledge 1984), and New Horizons in Linguistics (Penguin 1987, with co-editors John Lyons, Richard Coates, and Gerald Gazdar). Suzanne Quay is Associate Professor of International Communication and Linguistics at the International Christian University in Tokyo. She obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia, and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. She has done research not only in early child bilingualism, but also in the area of deaf education. She has published articles in various journals in these areas and is currently investigating multilingual and multicultural development in international families.
Release date NZ
June 1st, 2001
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
19 figures, 16 tables
Oxford University Press
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