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The Bilingual Child


  • 14 b/w illus. 31 tables
  • Page extent: 320 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.51 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521544764)

How does a child become bilingual? The answer to this intriguing question remains largely a mystery, not least because it has been far less extensively researched than the process of mastering a first language. Drawing on new studies of children exposed to two languages from birth (English and Cantonese), this book demonstrates how childhood bilingualism develops naturally in response to the two languages in the children's environment. While each bilingual child's profile is unique, the children studied are shown to develop quite differently from monolingual children. The authors demonstrate significant interactions between the children's developing grammars, as well as the important role played by language dominance in their bilingual development. Based on original research and using findings from the largest available multimedia bilingual corpus, the book will be welcomed by students and scholars working in child language acquisition, bilingualism and language contact.

• Strikingly original, it presents new findings that show how children acquire two languages from birth • Puts forward new data from a pair of hitherto under-researched languages • The book is supplemented by multimedia materials on the web


1. Introduction; 2. Theoretical framework; 3. Methodology; 4. Wh-interrogatives: to move or not to move?; 5. Null objects: dual input and learnability; 6. Relative clauses: transfer and universals; 7. Vulnerable domains and the directionality of transfer; 8. Bilingual development and contact-induced grammaticalization; 9. Conclusions.


'One of the most striking strengths of this book can be found in Yip and Matthews's continued attempts to bridge theoretical frameworks and reconcile seemingly divergent approaches to the study of bilingualism … this work will undoubtedly prove useful to students and researchers across many disciplines.' Studies in Second Language Acquisition

'… this book deserves attention for its extensive data base. … it is an important book. … a 'must-read' for researchers studying language acquisition.' Journal of Linguistics

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