Early Trilingual Language Acquisition of Spanish, English, and French by a Two-Year-Old American Child
Keywords:case study, language acquisition, multilingualism, trilingual, trilingualism, translanguaging, language mixing, active trilingualism, passive trilingualism, English, Spanish, French
Several factors have been shown to be important to trilingual language acquisition and active trilingualism including language exposure (Chevalier, 2015), input load (Arnaus Gil, Müller, Sette, & Hüppop, 2021), interlocutor language (Wang, 2008), use of the minority language in the household (Arnaus Gil, Müller, Sette, & Hüppop, 2021), and parental language strategies (Ronderos, Castilla-Earls, & Ramos, 2021). This case study investigates the language development of a two-year-old American toddler who has grown up since birth in a trilingual language environment of Spanish, English, and French. The child’s language use was observed in his natural environment from age 2;0 to age 2;4. Particular attention was given to the influence of language exposure patterns and parental language strategies on trilingual language development. The findings indicate that the child is growing up with rich exposure to all three languages and that his parents are following practices that promote language development. Additionally, the findings suggest that he is developing active trilingual language abilities, though he does seem to favor English over French and Spanish for spontaneous language production.
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