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Speech Production Of A Second Language

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Speech production in bilinguals has been a relatively new area of research since studies are very limited. Due to the fact that brain plasticity is greater in children before puberty or around the age of 13, speech production can differ in early sequential bilinguals compared to individuals who acquire a second language after the age of 13. Sequential bilingualism occurs when the child has exposure to a first language (L1) at birth and later learns a second language (L2) either in childhood or in adulthood. There is increasing number of children who are English language learners entering early childhood education settings, such as Head Start, preschool and child care centers (Páeza, Tabors & López, 2007). A large percentage of these children are exposed to only Spanish at home but quickly learn English at school (Páeza, Tabors & López, 2007). On the contrary, from personal experience, I have seen adults struggle with acquiring a second language and continue to have morphosyntatic errors when speaking and writing their second language. As a result, the process of speech production may not be similar once an individual reaches puberty.
There are three broad components in the process of speech production: conceptualization, formulation, and articulation (Grosjean & Li, 2013). During conceptualization, the individual must organize and decide on the information that will be expressed based on what the listener already knows. The speaker must take into account the listener’s age, level of education, ect. before formulating the message which will contain the concept that will be communicated. Pragmatics is taken into consideration throughout the entire process because it helps determine what to say, when to say it and how to say it. Th...

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...l period of language acquisition could be the reason why she has not been able to reach the proficiency level of a native speaker of English, regardless of the amount of education that she received in the United States.
Since the process of speech production in sequential bilinguals is more complex than in a monolingual, speech production must differ in early sequential bilinguals compared to individuals who acquire a second language after the age of 13. The critical period hypothesis for second language acquisition has not been conclusively proven by research, nor has it been completely disproved. Although studies have demonstrated that there are many advantages to an early age for second language acquisition, adults still have the potential to learn a second language but may struggle more in terms of proficiently levels, grammar processing and speech production.
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