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Jay Brennan


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My Ph.D. research focuses on the simultaneous acquisition of two languages from birth, or what is often referred to as bilingual first language acquisition (BFLA). My work avoids comparing bilingual children's development to that of monolingual children acquiring the same languages. By placing the individual language learner at the center of research, we better avoid stigmatizing bilingual development patterns. These stigmata often reinforce myths of BFLA that result in policies guided by myth. By studying the bilingual child on their own merits, my work attempts to describe part of multilingual language development's unique structure. By examining bilingual children on their own merits, this work enriches an image of how BFLA differs from monolingual acquisition and what these differences actually mean. By dispelling myths surrounding BFLA, this research can provide a more equitable basis for decision making about raising and educating children bilingually. My research is in resistance to certain myths surrounding BLFA that guide education policy; myths such as the monolingual brain's superiority, less time-on-task for multilinguals, misdiagnosis of language impairment among multilinguals, and a general irreverence for minority languages and cultures indisputable among majority school curriculums around the world.

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