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Bilingual Competence and Bilingual Proficiency in Child Development$
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Norbert Francis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016391

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016391.001.0001

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The Debate on the Nature of Bilingual Proficiency

The Debate on the Nature of Bilingual Proficiency

Distinguishing between Different Kinds of Language Ability

(p.48) (p.49) 3 The Debate on the Nature of Bilingual Proficiency
Bilingual Competence and Bilingual Proficiency in Child Development

Norbert Francis

The MIT Press

This chapter examines research from other subfields of child bilingual development which have direct relevance for educational language policy. In particular, it explores how the child’s languages interact and how the child gains access to concepts and processing strategies through first (L1) and second language (L2). After outlining the concepts of bilingual proficiency, the chapter looks at bilingualism in one school in Mexico in order to distinguish between different kinds of language ability, focusing on the two skill areas that receive the most attention in school: reading and writing. It also considers how academic literacy skills learned through one language can be applied to school tasks that involve reading and writing in another language. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the related concepts of Common Underlying Proficiency, Central Processing System, Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency, and transfer.

Keywords:   bilingualism, Mexico, bilingual development, first language, second language, bilingual proficiency, bilingual ability, reading, writing, transfer

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