Bilingualism: Language Acquisition

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Child language development
Chapter 2: children bilingualism
* Introduction
Language acquisition is among the main topics that intrigued psychologists, linguists and philosophers over time. In their efforts to define this complex phenomena, researchers have kept records of how children in advance from babbling, to words, to complex utterances. Since the 1960s, they have paid deep attention to the acquisition of different languages (SLOBIN 1985-19991) and the stages children go through. Children’s exposure to two languages often from their families or from the community they belong to resulted what is known by: children bilingualism. Many scholars were preoccupied by this complex task and debated on it. They focused on the simultaneous acquisition of two languages from birth, or what is generally referred to as bilingual first language acquisition. Some major hypothesis were done; whether the young child initially forms one linguistic system, which he or she gradually differentiates into separated linguistic systems or whether the child actually forms two separated linguistic systems from the onset of development. In addition to that hypothesis, other theories were the focus of that study: does the contact between the two languages give birth to language mixing in children at the word level, the utterance level, and across utterances with single conversation? However , studying children bilingualism needs to analyze speech of parents input ,as well as the community the child belongs to in order to define whether bilingualism is individual or extends to the society. Also we have to mention effects of bilingualism on child language development To response to this study, we experiment one case of some Algerian children (infant) precisely in TLEMCEN at some specific neighborhood (KIFFENE and BIR WANA)by referring to bilingualism in Algeria, the factors that influence it and if bilingualism in Algeria belong to a specific category of people. But before dealing with those outlines, we first have to define the word “bilingualism” * What is bilingualism?

The result of powerful countries expansion, the fact of leaving country home for specific purposes such as political or religious one and the fact of immigration gives birth to what is known by “bilingualism” in terms of sociolinguistics studies.

Bilingualism can be defined as the ability to speak two languages colloquially, however this concept has a brooding definition concerning sociolinguistics field, that is :bilingualism is a language situation where two languages are used by the individual or the whole community to communicate. The contact between the two languages was the interest of many scholars like Bloomfield’s (1933-56) would specify “native-like control of two languages” as the criterion for bilingualism. By contrast Haugen (1969-6) states” the definition of bilingualism is actually dependant on our definition of language” he also draws attention to the other end when he observes that bilingualism begins when the speaker of one language can produce complete meaningful utterances in the other language (1953-7). DIEBOLD (1964) however gives what might be called a minimal definition of bilingualism when he uses the term «incipient bilingualism” to characterize the initial stages of contact between two languages. His definition to bilingualism is related to the degree of bilingual person .i.e. his capacity to understand utterances even if he is not able to produce complete meaningful utterances. From those tree point s of view, we notice that each scholar regards the concept of bilingualism according to different degree, context and domains. Talking about bilingualism lead us to mention two important points that is CODE –SWITCHING and LANGUAGE MIXING (or code mixing).those two concept interested several scholars and tried to define them ,among them are AMUDA(1989), ATYOE(1994) and BELLY(1976), for instance Bokamba (1989) defines both...
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