Psycholinguistics and Bilingualism

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Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, comprehend and produce language. Initial forays into psycholinguistics were largely philosophical ventures, due mainly to a lack of cohesive data on how the human brain functioned. "Psycholinguistics is the study of the cognitive process that supports the acquisition and use of language" Schmitt, N. "Psycholinguistics is the study of how the mind equips human beings to handle language" Simpson, J Three types of bilingualism are usually used by researchers to describe bilingual children: 1.Simultaneous bilingualism: Learning two languages as "first languages". That is, a person who is a simultaneous bilingual goes from speaking no languages at all directly to speaking two languages. Infants who are exposed to two languages from birth will become simultaneous bilinguals. 2.Receptive bilingualism: Being able to understand two languages but express oneself in only one. Children who had high exposure to a second language throughout their lives, but have had little opportunity to use the language would fall in this category. For example, many children in Chinese or Mexican immigrant households hear English on TV, in stores and so on, but use their home language (Chinese or Spanish) in everyday communication. When they enter preschool or kindergarten, these children are likely to make rapid progress in English because their receptive language skills in English has been developed. 3.Sequential bilingualism: Learning one language after already established a first language. This is the situation for all those who become bilingual as adults, as well as for many who became bilingual earlier in life.

Ability to speak two languages. It may be acquired early by children in regions where most adults speak two languages (e.g., French and dialectal German in Alsace). Children may also become bilingual by learning languages in two...
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