Case Study of a Bilingual First Language Learner

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Georgina M. Orbeta


This case study chose a 4-year old child named Sharaf. He is considered a simultaneous bilingual since he is learning multiple languages since birth, but his first language or the dominant language being learned is Cebuano. The researcher studied how he learned Cebuano, although in his age when the study was conducted, he has already acquired the language, but his acquisition of the first language is not yet stable. The data from audio and video recordings, observations as well as noted utterances and behaviours of the subject include the first months since the subject was born until May 2017. Additional data were from conversations with his significant others such as his parents, relatives, and grandmother. The main goal of this study is to know what language acquisition theories and principles were manifested in the observations of the subject. The theories and principles that were evident in the observations were Behaviost theories, Piaget's Sensorimotor Stage of Cognitive Development and Tomasello’s Usage Based Theory. Regarding the effect of his being born premature to language development, no sign was seen based on Lenneberg’s chart, that he has delay in language acquisition. However, he had some challenges in acquiring his first language fully due to exposure to other languages. Some ways to overcome this difficulty have been identified: code-mixing, use of non-verbal symbols and asking questions.

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