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Monolingual and bilingual childre

Developmental variations between monolingual and bilingual children

The first vocabulary acquisition of infants is an astonishing and remarkable phenomenon on its own. It is incredible what knowledge these children can acquire in such a short period. There are certain circumstances, however, when these infants were created into bilingual households: that is, households where parents speak different languages. Bilingual children, thus, are the ones who need to acquire two languages concurrently, studying both their mothers' and their fathers' mom tongues. This research aspires to find what developmental variations there are between monolingual and bilingual newborns (if there are any) and what complications children have acquiring two different languages at the same time.

The first major difference between your two sides (in addition to the amount of information they need to obtain) lays on the systemization of knowledge. Monolingual babies need to take care of the looks and expressions they listen to within one united system. In contrast, bilingual infants need not only create a system between your things they can be experiencing and what they make reference to, nevertheless they even need to separate and pigeonhole them into two different terms systems. This is called 'Terminology Discrimination' and is also a common happening for all those bilinguals.

Although in bilingual families, language teaching usually occurs in a one-person-one-language framework (that is, each parent represents one words only in front of the kid), there are several situations whenever a 'natural' (previously unidentified) person is speaking with the infant. This can be the most challenging for the kid, as they have to find the proper communicational channel minus the familiar face, sound. . . etc. of the parents, which they usually connect the given vocabulary to. This can be said to be the first major difference between bilingual and monolingual babies. Not only need bilinguals learn twice as many words and constructions as one-language children do, in addition they need to split up the inputs into two different systems.

There is another difficulty, with which monolinguals need not deal and that is 'Code Blending'. 'Code Mixing up' "is the use of elements (phonological, lexical, morphosyntactic) from two dialects in the same utterance or stretch out of conversation. It could occur in a utterance (intra-utterance mixing-e. g. , 'see cheval' [horse]) or between utterances (inter-utterance mixing up)" (Genesee & Nicoladis, 2007). This happening is widespread and typical for bilinguals, not only while these are children, but also among grown-ups.

In circumstance of newborns, code-mixing can usually appear in the form of gap-filling. Which means that, while they can be speaking in another of their native languages, they swap certain words or phrases from the other language of theirs. This can be the result of incomplete words knowledge; but additionally, it may derive from the actual fact that a given word does not come to the child's mind and they substitute it for steering clear of communicational breakdown. Code-mixing is based on the context-sensitivity of children; this means that - depending on whom they are simply talking to - they use one of the languages as dominating in support of borrow inputs from the other system. (This can be based upon which parent they are really speaking with, for occasion. ) Since monolingual children haven't any other systems that they can acquire resources, this happening is not known to them; thus, only bilinguals face them.

The appearance of the first words reaches about the same age by mono- and bilingual children equally. They happen at age 12 or 13 calendar months. Further vocabulary acquisition (first nouns, verbs, expressions. . . etc. ) also come - pretty much - at exactly the same time. However, there is a major difference between the two teams. When monolingual children learn a new word or expression, they connect it to a new referent. As opposed to this, bilingual children have significantly more than one expression for everything, thus, the new name does not necessarily comes with a new referent for them. "As a result, bilinguals' total vocabulary size (final number of words) differs using their company total conceptual vocabulary (the total number of nameable ideas). It remains unclear which of these actions is most comparable to simple vocabulary size measured in monolingual newborns. " (Werker & Byers-Heinlein, 2008) In this manner or another, this is why why it is so hard to compare their vocabulary and expression learning process.

Apart from the earlier mentioned aspects, we need to cover two more important areas and these are children's communicative competence and learning overall flexibility. There are specific problems that are highly relevant to monolingual and bilingual children evenly: "production of target-like words forms that are comprehensible to others; getting one's meaning across when terms acquisition is imperfect; and use of dialect in socially appropriate ways" (Genesee & Nicoladis, 2007). Nevertheless, bilinguals also need to cope with the down sides of conjugating a given situation with one of their languages, increasing further hardships for the kids.

As for learning flexibility, one would assume that bilinguals learn much slower as they need to achieve more terminology knowledge through the same time. However, research by agnes Melinda Kovacs and Jacques Mehler (2009) turned out that "[t]welve-month-old preverbal bilingual infants [. . . ] seem to be more adaptable learners of multiple structural regularities than monolinguals. " Therefore, the fact that they can later speak two local languages includes a further advantage that they are (more) able to study two different things simultaneously.

Altogether, we can see that next to the similarities, monolingual and bilingual children have several distinctions, as well. The acquisition of two dialects comes along with further difficulties - in addition to the amount of knowledge they have to achieve - such as categorisation hardships, code-mixing and so on. Nevertheless, the procedure of acquiring two dialects needs approximately the same timeframe as learning only one first language. First words and first expressions all seem at about the same time by both categories. In addition to these, next to the later advantages of knowing two languages, the developed learning flexibility of bilinguals will help these children in their later studies as well.


Genesee, F. , & Nicoladis, E. (2007). Bilingual first terms acquisition. In E. Hoff & M. Shatz (Eds. ), Handbook of Vocabulary Development (pp. 324-342). Oxford, Great britain: Blackwell.

Kovacs, a. M. , & Mehler, J. (2009). Adaptable Learning of Multiple Talk Set ups in Bilingual Infants. Research, 325. doi:10. 1126/technology. 1173947

Werker, J. F. , & Byers-Heinlein, K. (2008). Bilingualism in infancy: First steps in perception and comprehension [Electronic digital version]. Styles in Cognitive Sciences, 12(4), 144-151.

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