Bilingualism

An Overview of the Linguistic Research

Authored by: Kellie Rolstad , Jeff MacSwan

Handbook of Latinos and Education

Print publication date:  December  2009
Online publication date:  December  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805858396
eBook ISBN: 9780203866078
Adobe ISBN: 9781135236694

10.4324/9780203866078.ch21

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Abstract

Bilingualism refers to the ability to speak two (or more) languages, either at the individual level or within a community. Bilingualism is a large and vibrant field internationally; in the U.S. context, it has long centered on Spanish speakers in the Latino community. Bilingualism can develop simultaneously, as when two languages are acquired in infancy (simultaneous bilingualism), or sequentially (sequential bilingualism), as in the case of second language acquisition. In significant respects, the field of bilingualism emerged in response to the suggestion among researchers in related fields that bilingualism in and of itself is a source of diffi culty for Latino children’s cognitive and academic development, a notion now known to be false. (See Appel & Muysken, 1984; and Zentella, 1997, for additional general information.)

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