Adoption Studies of Second First-Language Acquisition

Audrey Delcenserie & Fred Genesee

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Adoption Studies of Second First-Language Acquisition

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  • Internationally adopted (IA) children have a unique pattern of language development. Most IA children discontinue acquisition of their birth language (L1) when they begin acquisition of their adopted language, and in comparison to native speakers, onset of exposure to the adopted language is delayed. Thus, in comparison to monolingual language learners, their pattern of language development is often referred to as second first-language acquisition. They differ from both simultaneous bilinguals, who acquire two languages simultaneously from birth, and successive bilinguals, who begin acquisition of a second language after first language development begins, insofar as both of these groups continue to acquire two languages. IA children are thought to experience attrition, or loss, of their birth language, according to C. Pallier and colleagues. However, research ...

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