Date of Award
Communication Disorders and Sciences
Franca, Maria C.
The number of bilingual speakers in the United States is increasing. Children in particular provide unique contributions and challenges to the English-speaking communities in which they live. Various aspects of the young bilingual population have been studied, including an emphasis on the communicative abilities and trends of such children. However, there is a paucity of research regarding communication of bilingual Russian/English-speaking children. The purpose of this project is to review the existing literature on the language development of bilingual Russian/English-speaking children as compared to that of monolingual English-speaking children to establish grounds for further research about this increasing population. The findings encompass the following areas of language development: phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Each area of language development is explored in regards to whether or not differences exist between bilingual children and monolingual children. The review reveals that differences do exist between the language development of bilingual children and monolingual children. There are marked variations in phonology between the Russian language and the English language, and this affects English acquisition. There are also differences in syntax, which has an impact on English acquisition and Russian maintenance. Semantics may be an area of difficulty for bilingual children, with deficits possible in both languages. Some transfer effects exist in learning English pragmatics, but bilingual children eventually come to use English pragmatic models exclusively. This literature review calls for future research in the field of communication disorders and sciences regarding assessment and treatment of bilingual children in general and Russian/English-speaking children in particular.