The effects of bilingualism on language development in children are examined. Theories suggest that bilingual children are able to learn a second language after the first is mastered. One of the reasons behind this is that the child has already developed the nonverbal concept of the word (because the child is already using it in the primary language), so only the verbal concept must be constructed. It has been shown that balanced bilinguals are more cognitively and linguistically flexible. However, unbalanced bilinguals generally show mixed results.
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Introduction Bilingualism and second language learning have become topics of interest across the literature, particularly focusing on if proficiency of a second language is based on one’s age of acquisition. Acquiring a first language (L1) is said to be universal, but learning a second language (L2) is not universal (Hoff, 2009). It is quite remarkable that children can become fluent in both languages and have the ability to separate not only vocabulary, but also grammatical rules that may differ across the languages. Age is an important factor that often helps determine one’s success of learning or becoming proficient in a second language (Johnson & Newport, 1991). Numerous studies have shown that individuals who acquire a second language earlier in life tend to achieve higher proficiency in that language compared to those who acquire it later in life (Pakulak & Neville, 2011).
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