Language development in preschool bilingual children

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • If speech-language pathologists are to identify bilingual children in need of intervention, it is essential to understand the normal variations of bilingual acquisition and how it is the same or different from monolingual development. In this paper, we present an overview of the basics of preschool bilingual development based on current research findings. We discuss how bilingual children's code-mixing is normal and cannot be considered a sign of \"confusion\" of their two languages. In fact, bilingual children have been shown to differentiate their languages as young as two years of age, and possibly earlier. In terms of developmental milestones, research suggests that there is no outstanding difference between bilinguals and monolinguals, as long as both languages of the bilinguals are taken into account. We also discuss how learning new language skills can be a challenging task for bilingual children if there is any conflict between social and cultural values associated with their two languages. In the final section, we offer some clinical suggestions that arise from our overview.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
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  • License
    © 1997 Nicoladis, E., & Genesee, F. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Nicoladis, E., and Genesee, F. (1997). Language development in preschool bilingual children. Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, 21(4), 258-270.
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