4. The Bilingual Child

  1. Tej K. Bhatia and
  2. William C. Ritchie
  1. Ludovica Serratrice

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch4

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

How to Cite

Serratrice, L. (2012) The Bilingual Child, in The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition (eds T. K. Bhatia and W. C. Ritchie), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch4

Editor Information

  1. Syracuse University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 NOV 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334906

Online ISBN: 9781118332382



  • bilingual children;
  • cognitive abilities;
  • language differentiation;
  • lexical development;
  • morpho-syntactic development;
  • phonological development;
  • speech perception;
  • speech production;
  • word learning


The extent to which the two independent grammatical systems of a bilingual child may actually interact has been the focus of much investigation since the late 1990s after more evidence had been gathered in support of language differentiation in simultaneous bilingualism. This chapter reviews recent advances in the field in terms of phonological, lexical, and morpho-syntactic development. It covers some of the more recent work on language and cognition, in particular executive function skills, in young bilinguals. Issues of language differentiation that have preoccupied researchers studying speech perception also loom large in the investigation of the acquisition of segmental and supra-segmental phonology in speech production. Paying attention to word boundaries is extremely advantageous to infants' developing word learning abilities. It is significant that these skills seem to emerge in the second half of the first year of life when children start to produce their first words.