Childhood Bilingualism

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(5), 378–379. Reviews the book, Second-Language Acquisition in Childhood by Barry McLaughlin (see record 1979-25671-000). In this book, the author has set out to provide a general overview of the field for the interested professional. For the most part, he has succeeded admirably in his task. When he has fallen short of his goal, it is due largely to a less than critical view of some of the research that has been done in this area. A central question that author attempts to answer throughout the text is: What are the quantitative and qualitative differences between second-language acquisition in childhood and adulthood? The author surveys recent literature in applied linguistics, psycholinguistics, psychology, and neurolinguistics in an attempt to answer this and related questions. There is, however, one misinterpretation of the critical-period theory in the book and conclusions regarding the bearing of critical-period concepts on prepubic second-language acquisition may be questioned. He does provide the interested reader with a review of some of the relevant literature. While it is easy to fault many of the positions presented in the book, such criticism does not detract from its value. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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