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Take This Quiz on Bilingual Acquisition in Children! How Many Will You Get Right?

It's Quiz Time!

I have another quiz for you about raising bilingual kids! (This is the third quiz at Bilingual Monkeys. Try the first quiz and the second quiz, too.)

For this new quiz, I’ve created questions based on information found in Annick De Houwer’s book Bilingual First Language Acquisition. To read my impressions of the book, see Recommended Resources: Books on Bilingual Acquisition by Prominent Researcher Annick De Houwer. That post also features an insightful interview with the author.

Ready for the quiz? Good luck!

1. BFLA stands for Bilingual First Language Acquisition and, in Dr. De Houwer’s words, refers to “the development of language in young children who hear two languages spoken to them from birth.” On the other hand, when monolingual children begin to acquire a second language on top of their first language, not from birth but from a young age, as in day care or preschool, what is this process called?
a. ESLA, which stands for Early Second Language Acquisition
b. ESLA, which stands for Early Successive Language Acquisition
c. BSLA, which stands for Bilingual Second Language Acquisition
d. BSLA, which stands for Bilingual Successive Language Acquisition

To check your answer, open this box by clicking the plus sign!
a. ESLA, which stands for Early Second Language Acquisition (Along with BFLA and ESLA, the other main language learning context is MFLA, or Monolingual First Language Acquisition, where “children learn to understand and speak only one language.”)

2. Jules Ronjat, a French linguist, wrote the first book about BFLA, a case study of his son growing up with two languages from birth. When was this book published?
a. 1853
b. 1883
c. 1913
d. 1943

The world’s interest in children's bilingual development has grown profoundly since that time!
c. 1913 (In his book, Ronjat describes the bilingual development of his son, Louis, who acquired both German and French.)

3. What is the term used to describe the exaggerated way of speaking, marked by a higher pitch, that adults tend to use when talking to babies?
a. canonical babbling
b. infant soundscape
c. infant-directed speech
d. floating utterances

Isn’t it remarkable how adults will automatically switch to this special way of speaking when interacting with babies?
c. infant-directed speech (IDS) (This instinctive way of speaking by caregivers attracts the attention of young children and heightens early language input. Dr. De Houwer adds: “As babies grow older and appear to understand more, parents will use less and less of the typical characteristics of IDS.” After all, it would be quite funny if we spoke to our children at the age of 10 the same way we spoke to them at 10 months!)

4. One similarity between monolingual children and BFLA children involves normal variation: Whether one or two languages are being acquired, there is “a lot of variation between children in when they are able to say certain kinds of things.” What is a second similarity between monolingual children and BFLA children?
a. The absolute frequency of their language input is surprisingly similar.
b. They experience a similar process of uneven development in their language acquisition.
c. They both engage in similar dilingual conversations with others from the time they begin to make two-word combinations.
d. They reach similar milestones in their early language development at around the same ages.

Are you doing well so far? Will you get this one right, too?
d. They reach similar milestones in their early language development at around the same ages. (Notes Dr. De Houwer: “The time frame in which the major developments in language take place is similar across MFLA and BFLA children: it takes about five years to develop enough language skill to tell a good story. However, there is a wide variation regarding the ages at which children reach important linguistic milestones. This variation exists in both monolingual and bilingual children.”)

5. At what age do most bilingual children start making two-word combinations?
a. Between the ages of 12 and 17 months
b. Between the ages of 18 and 23 months
c. Between the ages of 24 and 29 months
d. Between the ages of 30 and 35 months

The number of words that children know in each language grows significantly at this time, too.
b. Between the ages of 18 and 23 months (If your child is behind this milestone, do your best to increase the language input you provide. Meanwhile, check with a speech-language pathologist to rule out other factors.)

6. At around what age do most bilingual children begin producing complex sentences, which combine simple sentences and “allow children to carry on better conversations and to tell stories.”
a. Around 36 months (age 3)
b. Around 42 months (age 3 and a half)
c. Around 48 months (age 4)
d. Around 54 months (age 4 and a half)

Eager to use their expanding language ability, this is the age when children can talk your ears off!
c. Around 48 months (age 4) (Dr. De Houwer explains: “Regardless of the specific language they are learning, the average length of young children’s utterances is indicative of their overall level of language development. In general, the longer an utterance is, the more complex it is. This is why often the ‘mean length of utterance’ is used as an indication of young children’s language development.”)

7. In Dr. De Houwer’s view, there are two factors that largely shape the amount of input a young child receives in a given language. One is the amount of time available for interaction in that language. And what is the second factor?
a. The speaking rates of the people interacting with the child
b. The amount of complex sentences used by caregivers
c. The number of people who use that language around the child
d. The number of languages the child hears

Make no mistake: These two factors are of fundamental importance to the success of your bilingual journey!
a. The speaking rates of the people interacting with the child (The idea of “speaking rate” refers to how much, overall, caregivers are using that language with the child.)

8. An important study of monolingual children in the United States, published by Hart and Risley in 1995, shows how parents’ speaking rates lead to significant differences in language input. In fact, by the time a child is three years old, how many more words will a child hear from a parent with a “high” speaking rate compared to a parent with a “low” speaking rate?
a. Twice as many words
b. Three times as many words
c. Four times as many words
d. Five times as many words

This one may be a bit tricky, but make your best guess!
b. Three times as many words (The study by Hart and Risley underscores how vital it is for parents and caregivers to maintain a high speaking rate on a regular basis. For bilingual children, this is particularly important in providing ample input in the minority language.)

9. When a child speaks the “wrong” language to a parent and the parent responds by making efforts to encourage use of the “right” language and discourage use of the “wrong” language, these efforts are called…
a. unilingual utterances
b. mixed utterances
c. monolingual discourse strategies
d. bilingual discourse strategies

This is tied to nurturing a genuine <em>need</em> in the child to actively use the desired language.
c. monolingual discourse strategies (Dr. De Houwer writes: “These have the effect of keeping the conversation limited to one language only.” Bilingual discourse strategies, on the other hand, “allow the use of two languages within a conversation.”)

10. What is the name of the large public database of transcribed speech, in many languages, available online to researchers and the general public?

This database is currently maintained under the direction of Brian MacWhinney at Carnegie Mellon University.
c. CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System) (Dr. De Houwer remarks: “Although the focus of CHILDES is on speech produced by children, it contains speech produced by adults addressing those children as well. All these transcripts were donated to CHILDES by researchers worldwide.”)

Yay! You’re finished! How did you do?!

Now give the other two quizzes a try…

What Do You Know About Bilingualism? Take This Quiz and Test Your Knowledge! (based on the book Bilingual: Life and Reality by Francois Grosjean)

Another Fun Quiz on Bilingualism! Test Your Knowledge! (based on the book A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism by Colin Baker)

How about you? Did you enjoy this quiz? Please let me know in a comment, then share this post with others!

4 Responses

  1. This is a great quiz! Tough, though… Occasionally even I had to think hard! Great questions, Adam. All the best to you and bilingual families across the world, Annick De Houwer

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Welcome to Bilingual Monkeys!

I’m Adam Beck, the founder of this blog and The Bilingual Zoo, a lively worldwide forum for parents raising bilingual or multilingual kids. I’m also the author of the popular books Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability and Bilingual Success Stories Around the World. I’ve been an educator and writer in this field for 25 years as well as the parent of two bilingual children, now 19 and 16. I hope my work can help empower the success of your bilingual journey.

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