Trilingual Language Acquisition

Contextual factors influencing active trilingualism in early childhood

| University of Zurich
ISBN 9789027244055 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
ISBN 9789027267887 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
This book examines the language development of two children from the ages of two till four, who are growing up exposed to English, Swiss German and French. Its aim is to ascertain the importance of different environmental factors in fostering active trilingualism. These factors include the quantity of input for each language, whether or not the societal language is spoken in the home, and the conversational style of the caregivers. Although increasing numbers of children are being raised trilingually, research in this field is scarce; this study thus makes an important contribution to our knowledge of trilingual language acquisition. A special point of interest lies in a comparison of the acquisition of two minority languages by a single child, since this allows us to pinpoint more precisely how the development of non-societal languages can be influenced. This book will be of considerable interest to researchers and students working on multilingualism and language acquisition alike.
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research, 16]  2015.  x, 225 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Bilingual Language Acquisition Research: A Review of the Literature
3. Trilingual Language Acquisition Studies
4. A Study of Trilingual Language Acquisition in Context: Methodology
5. The Children's Language Production
6. "He spends a lot of time with his grandmother": Contextual Factors
7. "What does Shelly say?": Focus on Caregiver Discourse Styles
8. Active Trilingualism in Early Childhood: Contextual Explanations
“This excellent study on Trilingual First Language Acquisition is a milestone in the field. The author’s contribution to the field lies both in her study’s carefully collected novel empirical data and in her thoughtful and comprehensive analyses.”
Cited by

Cited by other publications

No author info given
2019.  In Bilingual Children,  pp. 156 ff. Crossref logo
Allen, Shanley E.M.
2017. Comparison as a fruitful way forward. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 7:6  pp. 668 ff. Crossref logo
De Houwer, Annick
2018.  In Bilingual Cognition and Language [Studies in Bilingualism, 54],  pp. 127 ff. Crossref logo
Annick De Houwer & Lourdes Ortega
2018.  In The Cambridge Handbook of Bilingualism, Crossref logo
Madrazo, Arnel R. & Allan B. I. Bernardo
2018. Measuring Two Types of Inhibitory Control in Bilinguals and Trilinguals: Is There a Trilingual Advantage?. Psychological Studies 63:1  pp. 52 ff. Crossref logo
Meisel, Jürgen
2019.  In Bilingual Children, Crossref logo
Pittman, Iulia
2019.  In International Research on Multilingualism: Breaking with the Monolingual Perspective [Multilingual Education, 35],  pp. 125 ff. Crossref logo
Poeste, Meike, Natascha Müller & Laia Arnaus Gil
2019. Code-mixing and language dominance: bilingual, trilingual and multilingual children compared. International Journal of Multilingualism 16:4  pp. 459 ff. Crossref logo
Sivakumar, Abira, Natascha Müller & Laia Arnaus Gil
2020.  In New Trends in Language Acquisition Within the Generative Perspective [Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics, 49],  pp. 165 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 01 may 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.



Aronin, Larissa & Singleton, David
2012Multilingualism [Impact: Studies in Language and Society 30]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref link
Barnes, Julia
2006Early Trilingualism. A Focus on Questions. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
2011The influence of child-directed speech in early trilingualism. International Journal of Multilingualism 8(1): 42–62. Crossref link
Barron-Hauwaert, Suzanne
2000Issues surrounding trilingual families: Children with simultaneous exposure to three languages. Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht 5(1). http://​zif​.spz​.tu​-darmstadt​.de​/jg​-05​-1​/beitrag​/barron​.htm
Bates, Elizabeth, Bretherton, Inge & Sebestyen Snyder, Lynn
1988From First Words to Grammar: Individual Differences and Dissociable Mechanisms. Cambridge: CUP.
Botinis, Antonis, Granström, Bjorn & Möbius, Bernd
2001Developments and paradigms in intonation research. Speech Communication 33: 263–296. Crossref link
Braun, Andreas
2012Language maintenance in trilingual families – A focus on grandparents. International Journal of Multilingualism 9(4): 423–426. Crossref link
Braun, Andreas & Cline, Tony
2010Trilingual families in mainly monolingual societies: Working towards a typology. International Journal of Multilingualism 7(2): 110–127. Crossref link
2014Language Strategies for Trilingual Families: Parents’ Perspectives. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Brown, Roger
1973A First Language: The Early Stages. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Crossref link
Chambers, Jack K.
2003Sociolinguistic Theory, 2nd edn. Malden MA: Blackwell.
Chevalier, Sarah
2006Trilingual tots. The New Stork Times: The Parenting Source for Switzerland 14(4): 12–13.
2008Contextual aspects of early trilingualism. In Two or More Languages: Proceedings from the 9th Nordic Conference on Bilingualism, August 10–11, 2006, Joensuu, Alexandre Nikolaev & Jussi Niemi (eds), 37–46. Joensuu: University of Joensuu.
2012aActive trilingualism in early childhood: The motivating role of caregivers in interaction. International Journal of Multilingualism 9(4): 437–454. Special Issue: Social and Affective Factors in Multilingualism Research. Crossref link
2012bMobile parents, multilingual children. In On the Move: Mobilities in English Language and Literature [SPELL, Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 27], Annette Kern-Staehler & David Britain (eds), 99–115. Tübingen: Narr.
2013Caregiver responses to the language mixing of a young trilingual. Multilingua. Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication 32(1): 1–32.
Comeau, Liane, Genesee, Fred & Lapaquette, Lindsay
2003The modeling hypothesis and child bilingual codemixing. The International Journal of Bilingualism 7(2): 113–126. Crossref link
Cruttenden, Alan
1997Intonation, 2nd edn. Cambridge: CUP. Crossref link
Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena
1999Prosodic mixes: Strategies in multilingual language acquisition. The International Journal of Bilingualism 3(1): 1–21. Crossref link
2006Three is a Crowd? Acquiring Portuguese in a Trilingual Environment. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Crystal, David
1974Review of Roger Brown’s ‘A First Language’. Journal of Child Language 1: 289–334.
De Houwer, Annick
1990The Acquisition of Two Languages from Birth: A Case Study. Cambridge: CUP. Crossref link
1995Bilingual language acquisition. In The Handbook of Child Language, Paul Fletcher & Brian MacWhinney (eds), 219–250. Oxford: Blackwell.
1999Environmental factors in early bilingual development: The role of parental beliefs and attitudes. In Bilingualism and Migration, Guus Extra & Ludo Verhoeven (eds), 75–95. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Crossref link
2004Trilingual input and children’s language use in trilingual families in Flanders. In Trilingualism in Family, School and Community, Charlotte Hoffmann & Jehannes Ytsma (eds), 118–135. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
2007Parental language input patterns and children’s bilingual use. Applied Psycholinguistics 28: 411–424. Crossref link
2009Bilingual First Language Acquisition. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
De Houwer, Annick & Bornstein, Marc H.
2015Forthcoming. Balance patterns in early bilingual acquisition: A longitudinal study of word comprehension and production. In Operationalising and Measuring Language Dominance, Carmen Silva-Corvalàn & Jeanine Treffers-Daller (eds) Cambridge: CUP.
De Swaan, Abram
2001Words of the World: The Global Language System. Cambridge: Polity.
Deuchar, Margaret & Quay, Suzanne
2000Bilingual Acquisition. Theoretical Implications of a Case Study. Oxford: OUP.
Dewaele, Jean-Marc
2000Trilingual first language acquisition: Exploration of a linguistic “miracle”. La Chouette 31: 41–45.
2007Still trilingual at ten: Livia’s multilingual journey. Multilingual Living Magazine March/April, 68–71.
Dieth, Eugen
[1938]1986Schwyzertütschi Dialäktschrift, 2nd edn, Christian Schmid-Cadalbert (ed.). Aarau: Verlag Sauerländer.
Döpke, Susanne
1992One Parent One Language: An Interactional Approach [Studies in Bilingualism 3]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref link
1998Review of Elizabeth Lanza’s ‘Language Mixing in Infant Bilingualism’. The International Journal of Bilingualism 2(3): 106–109.Crossref link
Edwards, Malcolm & Dewaele, Jean-Marc
2007Trilingual conversations: A window into trilingual competence? The International Journal of Bilingualism 11(2): 221–241. Crossref link
Faingold, Eduardo D.
1999The re-emergence of Spanish and Hebrew in a multilingual adolescent. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 2(4): 283–295. Crossref link
Ferguson, Charles
[1959]2003Diglossia. In Sociolinguistics: The Essential Readings, Christina Bratt Paulston & Richard Tucker (eds), 345–358. Malden MA: Blackwell.
Gathercole, Virginia C. Mueller & Thomas,
Enlli Môn 2009Bilingual first-language development: Dominant language takeover, threatened minority language take-up. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 12(2): 213–237. Crossref link
Genesee, Fred
2003Rethinking bilingual acquisition. In Bilingualism: Beyond Basic Principles. Festschrift in Honour of Hugo Beatens Beardsmore, Jean-Marc Dewaele, Alex Houson & Li Wei (eds), 204–228. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Genesee, Fred, Nicoladis, Elena & Paradis, Johanne
1995Language differentiation in early bilingual language development. Journal of Child Language 22: 611–631. Crossref link
Genesee, Fred, Boivin, Isabelle & Nicoladis, Elena
1996Talking with strangers: A study of bilingual children’s communicative competence. Applied Psycholinguistics 17: 427–442. Crossref link
Grosjean, François
1982Life with Two Languages: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Cambridge: CUP.
2001The bilingual’s language modes. In One Mind, Two Languages: Bilingual Language Processing, Janet Nicol (ed.), 1–22. Oxford: Blackwell.
Gumperz, John J.
1982Discourse Strategies. Cambridge: CUP. Crossref link
Haugen, Einar
1972The stigmata of bilingualism. In The Ecology of Language. Anwar S. Dil (ed.). Stanford CA: Stanford University Press.
Hélot, Christine
1988Bringing up children in English, French and Irish: Two case studies. Language Culture and Curriculum 1(3): 281–287. Crossref link
Hoffmann, Charlotte
1985Language acquisition in two trilingual children. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 6(6): 479–495. Crossref link
2001Towards a description of trilingual competence. The International Journal of Bilingualism 5(1): 1–17. Crossref link
Hoffmann, Charlotte & Stavans, Anat
2007The evolution of trilingual codeswitching from infancy to school age: The shaping of trilinual competence through dynamic language dominance. International Journal of Bilingualism 11(1): 55–72. Crossref link
Juan-Garau, Maria & Pérez-Vidal, Carmen
2001Mixing and pragmatic parental strategies in early bilingual acquisition. Journal of Child Language 28: 59–86. Crossref link
Kasuya, Hiroko
1998Determinants of language choice in bilingual children: The role of input. The International Journal of Bilingualism 2(3): 327–346.
Kazzazi, Kerstin
2007Man se tā baladam. Language awareness in a trilingual child. Presentation given at the “L3” conference, 3–5 September 2007, Stirling, Scotland.
2011 Ich brauche mix-cough: Cross-linguistic influence involving German, English and Farsi. International Journal of Multilingualism 8(1): 63–79. Crossref link
Kemp, Charlotte
2007Strategic processing in grammar learning: Do multilinguals use more strategies? International Journal of Multilingualism 4(4): 241–261. Crossref link
Labov, William
1970The study of language in its social context. Studium Generale 23: 30–87.
Lanza, Elizabeth
1992Can bilingual two-year-olds code-switch? Journal of Child Language 19(3): 633–658. Crossref link
[1997] 2004Language Mixing in Infant Bilingualism: A Sociolinguistic Perspective, 2nd edn. Oxford: OUP.
2001Bilingual first language acquisition. A discourse perspective on language contact in parent–child interaction. In Trends in Bilingual Acquisition [Trends in Language Acquisition Research 1], Jasone Cenoz & Fred Genesee (eds), 203–229. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref link
MacLaughlin, Barry
1978Second Language Acquisition in Childhood. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence ErlbaumAssociates.
MacWhinney, Brian
2011The CHILDES Project Tools for Analyzing Talk – Electronic Edition, Part 1: The CHAT Transcription Format. http://​childes​.psy​.cmu​.edu​/manuals​/chat​.pdf [17 March 2011].
Maneva, Blagovesta
2004‘Maman, je suis polyglotte!’: A case study of multilingual language acquisition from 0 to 5 years. International Journal of Multilingualism 1(2): 109–122. Crossref link
Meisel, Jürgen
1989Early differentiation of languages in bilingual children. In Bilingualism Across the Lifespan: Aspects of Acquisition, Maturity, and Loss, Kenneth Hyltenstam & Loraine K. Obler (eds), 13–40. Cambridge: CUP. Crossref link
2004The bilingual child. In The Handbook of Bilingualism, Tej K. Bhatia & William C. Ritchie (eds), 91–113. Oxford: Blackwell.
Mikès, Melanie
1990Some issues of lexical development in early bi- and trilinguals. In Children’s Language, Gina Conti-Ramsden & Caroline Snow (eds), 103–120. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
1991Some issues of grammatical development in early trilinguals. Anuario de Psicología 48: 29–38.
Montanari, Simona
2005“Sol! ‘GANDA, cute!” A longitudinal study of language choice in a developing trilingual child. In ISB4: Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism. James Cohen, Kara T. McAlister, Kellie Rolstad & Jeff MacSwann (eds), 1662–1678. Somerville MA: Cascadilla Press.
2010Language Differentiation in Early Trilingual Development. Evidence from a Case Study. Saarbrücken: Verlag Dr. Müller.
Nicoladis, Elena & Genesee, Fred
1998Parental discourse and codemixing in bilingual children. The International Journal of Bilingualism 2(3): 85–99.Crossref link
O’Grady, William
2005How Children Learn Language. Cambridge: CUP. Crossref link
Ochs, Elinor & Schieffelin, Bambi
1995The impact of language socialization on grammatical development. In The Handbook of Child Language, Paul Fletcher & Brian MacWhinney (eds), 73–94. Oxford: Blackwell.
Oller, D. Kimbrough
2010All-day recordings to investigate vocabulary development: A case study of a trilingual toddler. Communication Disorders Quarterly 31: 213–222. Crossref link
Petersen, Jennifer
1988Word-internal code-switching constraints in a bilingual child’s grammar. Linguistics 26: 479–493. Crossref link
Quay, Suzanne
2001Managing linguistic boundaries in early trilingual development. In Trends in Bilingual Acquisition [Trends in Language Acquisition Research 1], Jasone Cenoz & Fred Genesee (eds), 149–199. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref link
2008Dinner conversations with a trilingual two-year-old: Language socialization in a multilingual context. First Language 28(1): 5–33. Crossref link
2011aIntroduction: Data-driven insights from trilingual children in the making. International Journal of Multilingualism 8(1): 1–4. Crossref link
2011bTrilingual toddlers at daycare centres: The role of careigivers and peers in language development. International Journal of Multilingualism 8(1): 22–41. Crossref link
2012Discourse practices of trilingual mothers: Effects on minority home language development in Japan. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 15(4): 435–453. Crossref link
Ronjat, Jules
1913Le développement du langage observé chez un enfant bilingue. Paris: Champion.
Safont-Jordà, Maria-Pilar
2011Early requestive development in consecutive third language learning. International Journal of Multilingualism 10: 1–21.
2012A longitudinal analysis of Catalan, Spanish and English request modifiers in early third language learning. In Cross-linguistic Influences in Multilingual Language Acquisition, Danuta Gabrys-Barker (ed.), 99–114. Berlin: Springer. Crossref link
2013Early stages of trilingual pragmatic development. A longitudinal study of requests in Catalan, Spanish and English. Journal of Pragmatics 59: 68–80. Crossref link
Saville-Troike, Muriel
1987Dilingual discourse: The negotiation of meaning without a common code. Linguistics 25(1): 81–106. Crossref link
Schmid, Stephan
2010Segmental features of Swiss German ethnolects. Presentation given at the “Sociophonetics at the Crossroads of Speech Variation, Processing and Communication” conference, 14–15 December 2010, Pisa, Italy.
Stavans, Anat & Swisher, Virginia
2006Language switching as a window on trilingual acquisition. International Journal of Multilingualism 3(3): 193–220. Crossref link
Stavans, Anat
1992Sociolinguistic factors affecting codeswitches produced by trilingual children. Journal of Language, Culture and Curriculum 5(1): 42–53.
2001Trilingual narratives: Relating events in three languages. In Narrative Development in a Multilingual Context [Studies in Bilingualism 23], Ludo Verhoeven & Sven Stromqvist (eds), 340–372. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref link
Taavitsainen, Irma & Jucker, Andreas H.
2010Trends and developments in historical pragmatics. In Historical Pragmatics, Andreas H. Jucker & Irma Taavitsainen (eds), 3–30. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. Crossref link
Tannen, Deborah
2005Intercultural Sociolinguistics as a resource for Intercultural Pragmatics. Intercultural Pragmatics 2(2): 205–208. Crossref link
2006Language and culture. In An Introduction to Language and Linguistics, Ralph W. Fasold and Jeff Connor-Linton (eds), 343–372. Cambridge: CUP.
Tare, Mehda & Gelman, Susan A.
2010Can you say it another way? Cognitive factors in bilingual children’s pragmatic language skills. Journal of Cognition and Development 11: 137–158. Crossref link
2014“We call it as puppy”: Pragmatic factors in bilingual language choice. In Language in Interaction: Studies in honor of Eve V. Clark [Trends in Language Acquisition Research 12], Inbal Arnon, Marisa Casillas, Chigusa Kurumada and Bruno Estigarribia (eds), 191–206. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref link
Thomas, Jenny
1995Meaning in Interaction: An Introduction to Pragmatics. Harlow: Longman.
Volterra, Virginia & Taeschner, Traute
1978The acquisition and development of language by bilingual children. Journal of Child Language 5: 311–326. Crossref link
Wang, Xiao-lei
2008Growing up with Three Languages. Birth to Eleven [Parents’ and Teachers’ Guides]. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Wong Fillmore, Lily
1991When learning a second langauge means losing the first. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 6: 323–346. Crossref link
BIC Subject: CFDM – Bilingualism & multilingualism
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2015026585