Sources of Bilingualism and Code-Switching in Small Children

Author: Ewelina Suwada (Tischner European University, Krakow, Poland)
Speaker: Ewelina Suwada
Topic: General Sociolinguistics
COMELA 2020 General Session


Language acquisition is a fundamental aspect of psycholinguistics. The principal objective of this paper is to investigate the sources of bilingualism and code-switching in small children. The project proposes a holistic definition of bilingualism and briefly justifies it. It also analyses code-switched utterances and studies their types and presumed origin. The research is conducted on a 5-year-old Polish-English bilingual child. The method involved two self-rating questionnaires, which explored the child’s language choice and the frequency and intensity of language alternatives. The thesis proves the claim that bilingualism derives from the environmental output a child is exposed to. The case study is further confronted with the theories of Lev Vygotsky (the scaffolding theory) and Stephen Krashen (the theory of five hypotheses). Some of the references include works by Baker, Bloomfield, Chomsky, Grosjean, Hamers, Krashen and Skutnabb-Kangas.

Keywords: Bilingualism, bilinguality, language acquisition, code-switching