There are three major types of bilinguals. If you’re bilingual, the type that corresponds to you has a great deal to do with the stage of life in which you were learning a second language. It also carries influence over the way that you think and socialize.
Bilinguals of any type can become proficient in their second language, meaning that differences may very well never be spotted by listeners. The classification informs effective bilingual education design for children, as well as adult language training and assessment.
1. Compound Bilinguals
A toddler that moves with their family to a new country will grow up with two linguistic codes that tie back to one single consolidated set of concepts. This is the language structure that classifies a person as a compound bilingual.
So, a toddler who’s left, say, their native Romania to go live in England will grow to be able to express themselves in both Romanian and English. The two languages, however, won’t represent situational distinction for them. For more clarity, let’s look at the next type of bilingualism.
2. Coordinate Bilinguals
Let’s say that instead of a toddler, the child in the family moving from Romania to England had been a teenager. In this case, the child grows with two sets of concepts in their mind, each associated with one of the languages in their language pair, Romanian and English.
The typical manifestation, in this case, would be the adoption of English in school, while Romanian continues to be used at home and in the community. The key characteristic in coordinate bilinguals is this separation in the form, purpose, and environment in which each language is used.
3. Subordinate Bilinguals
The last sort of bilingualism could be exemplified through the parents in our migrating family. As naturals of Romania and full-grown adults, they are proficient in Romanian. The move to England, however, means they need to use their languages faculties to adopt English as well.
The assimilation of English unfurls through a process of filtering in the new language through the one they already know, comparable to simple translation. For instance, in their minds, the Romanian word for a familiar concept like “car” would simply be replaced with the appropriate English word.
Bilingual and Proud
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