From Bengali to English: sequential bilingualism of a second-generation British Bangladeshi

Al-Azami, Salman (2013) From Bengali to English: sequential bilingualism of a second-generation British Bangladeshi. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 17 (4). pp. 484-497. ISSN 1367-0050

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The paper discusses sequential language acquisition of the researcher's daughter Safa who transformed from a monolingual Bengali speaker to an almost monolingual English speaker in a few months after moving to the UK. Safa was born in Bangladesh and was a monolingual Bengali speaker until she was three years and nine months when the family moved to the UK. Unlike most research on sequential bilingualism, Safa's transition from Bengali to English went through a period of an invented language, which she developed and used for a few months. Safa then underwent language shift as Bengali became her passive language. Safa's loss of fluency in Bengali was mainly due to the absence of Bengali linguistic environment, because her family lived outside the community. Safa's mother's indifference to Bangladeshi ethnicity and her parents’ positive attitude towards Britishness meant that her decline in Bengali did not cause them much concern. Despite the lack of proficiency in Bengali, Safa still retains a strong ethnic Bangladeshi identity. Tabors and Snow’s four-stage developmental process of sequential second-language acquisition has been applied to find the similarities and differences in Safa's case, while language maintenance and shift theories have contributed to the analysis of the process of her language shift.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism on 28/08/13, available online:”
Keywords: subtractive bilingualism, sequential bilingualism, second-language acquisition, ethnic identity, language maintenance, language shift
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > English
Depositing User: Ann Houghton
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2016 15:10
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2017 15:47

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