Notes for students and instructors

Study questions
1 What are the main developmental stages in a bilingual child's language acquisition?
2 What factors can cause a child to mix two languages in an utterance? Why is code-mixing not good evidence for the 'one system hypothesis'?

Study activity
Observe a bilingual child in different situations (e.g. at home with parents, with siblings, outside home with other children, and with other adults). Pay special attention to his or her language choice with different people. Note down the occasions when the child makes a 'wrong' choice, i.e. using Language A when the addressee only understands or prefers Language B. Is there any particular reason for the 'wrong' choice (e.g. accidental, deliberate)? Does the child realise he or she has made a 'wrong' choice? What does the child do when he or she realises he/she has made a 'wrong' choice? If time permits, design a case study of a bilingual child under the age of three. Either ask the parents to keep a weekly record of:
1 their own language choice to the child; and
2 the child's speech over an extended period of time (no less than six months);

Or tape-record the child's speech at weekly intervals. (If the keeping of a weekly record is not realistic, negotiate with the family to see how often they can keep

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