Bilingual First Language Acquisition

Course content

In this seminar we will explore how children growing up with two languages from birth ac-quire the two languages simultaneously and how they learn to use the two languages ap-propriately when communicating with other people. A recurrent question in research on bi-lingual first language acquisition is whether the children acquire the two languages sepa-rately (i.e. their acquisition patterns are identical to monolingual patterns) or whether there is some kind of interaction/interdependence in the development of the two languages. We will address this question looking at the levels of phonology, morpho-syntax and vocabulary. We will also discuss which factors influence the development of the two languages (e.g. type and amount of input in the two languages) and will discuss possible explanations for different rates of development (unequal development) or different outcomes (e.g. receptive bilingualism). Apart from acquiring the lexical and structural aspects of the two languages children also have to learn how to use the two languages in accordance with socio-pragmatic norms. So we will also address the acquisition of language choice patterns of simultaneous bilingual children. Finally, we will focus on code-switching, a typically bilin-gual phenomenon that requires linguistic and socio-pragmatic competence on the part of the speaker. We will look at how bilingual children acquire this competence and whether / how this is related to the general development in the two languages.

Course information

Code 4412311
Degree programme Double major Bachelor’s degree English Studies, Teacher Training Course: Gymnasien
Lecturer(s) and contact person Dr. Henrike Comes-Koch
Type of course Seminar
Semester Winter semester
Language of instruction English
Level of study Bachelor, Master
ECTS credits Please contact the lecturer