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The roots of bilingualism in newborns


The roots of bilingualism in newborns

Byers-Heinlein, Krista, Burns, Tracey C and Werker, Janet F. The roots of bilingualism in newborns. Psychological Science, 21 . pp. 343-348.

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The first steps towards bilingual language acquisition have already begun at birth. When tested on their preference for English versus Tagalog, “monolingual” newborns, whose mothers spoke only English during pregnancy, showed a robust preference for English. In contrast, “bilingual” newborns, whose mothers spoke both English and Tagalog regularly during pregnancy, showed equal preference for both languages. A group of Chinese-English bilinguals showed an intermediate pattern of preference. Preference for two languages does not suggest confusion between them, however. Study 2 showed that both English monolinguals and Tagalog-English bilinguals could discriminate English from Tagalog. The same perceptual and learning mechanisms that support acquisition in a monolingual environment thus also naturally support bilingual acquisition.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Article
Authors:Byers-Heinlein, Krista and Burns, Tracey C and Werker, Janet F.
Journal or Publication:Psychological Science
ID Code:980281
Deposited On:17 Aug 2015 15:10
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51
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