Mixing revisited: A case study of a bilingual two year old

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The speech of a two year old bilingual child was studied from the age of 1;7 to 2;9. The data reveal three phases: an initial phase in which there was no mixing, a middle phase in which there was mixing coupled with a lower rate of Italian utterances, and a final phase during which mixing was almost non-existent and the child made language choices according to linguistic and extralinguistic factors. This suggests that mixing has a role to play in both the acquisition process and in the development of bilingual communication skills. An examination of the lexical substitutions reveals that contentives far outnumbered functors implying that the child may resort to mixing because of a limited lexicon in one or other of the languages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-63
Number of pages18
JournalMelbourne Papers in Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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