This paper deals with the language of a bilingual child, Guglielmo, exposed since birth to two typologically different languages: Indonesian and Italian. This case study aims to shed light to the interesting issue of the language used by simultaneous bilingual children and focuses in particular on the production of mixed forms, forms that display a mix of the two languages the child is exposed to. It examines the occurrence of mixed forms and discusses the issues of language choice, code switching, language differentiation and in particular, to which extent there is interference in the child’s speech between these typologically different languages. Colloquial Indonesian is mostly isolating, partly agglutinative, while Italian is an inflected language. The target child is Guglielmo, a child born to an Italian mother and an Indonesian father. He lives in an Indonesian-speaking environment but his mother only and exclusively addresses him in Italian. He is totally fluent in Jakarta Indonesian and comprehends Italian though his production until the age of three is still very limited. In fact the Italian produced by Guglielmo is often, if not always, mixed to other Indonesian elements. After the age of three, more consistently the child expresses himself in Indonesian just like any Indonesian child of his age would do in everyday Indonesian conversation, and in the Italian context he uses all the few Italian elements he commands to speak Italian. His Italian though lags behind the stronger Indonesian and for this reason inevitably elements of his dominant language, Indonesian, appear in his speech.

Dominance and language choice in an Indonesian-Italian bilingual child

SORIENTE, ANTONIA
2006

Abstract

This paper deals with the language of a bilingual child, Guglielmo, exposed since birth to two typologically different languages: Indonesian and Italian. This case study aims to shed light to the interesting issue of the language used by simultaneous bilingual children and focuses in particular on the production of mixed forms, forms that display a mix of the two languages the child is exposed to. It examines the occurrence of mixed forms and discusses the issues of language choice, code switching, language differentiation and in particular, to which extent there is interference in the child’s speech between these typologically different languages. Colloquial Indonesian is mostly isolating, partly agglutinative, while Italian is an inflected language. The target child is Guglielmo, a child born to an Italian mother and an Indonesian father. He lives in an Indonesian-speaking environment but his mother only and exclusively addresses him in Italian. He is totally fluent in Jakarta Indonesian and comprehends Italian though his production until the age of three is still very limited. In fact the Italian produced by Guglielmo is often, if not always, mixed to other Indonesian elements. After the age of three, more consistently the child expresses himself in Indonesian just like any Indonesian child of his age would do in everyday Indonesian conversation, and in the Italian context he uses all the few Italian elements he commands to speak Italian. His Italian though lags behind the stronger Indonesian and for this reason inevitably elements of his dominant language, Indonesian, appear in his speech.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11574/40123
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