The Bilingual Acquisition of English and Mandarin: Chinese Children in Australia

by Ruying Qi


“This book is a must-read for students of bilingual first-language acquisition. In this groundbreaking work, Ruying Qi traces the development of two of the world's most important languages, Mandarin Chinese and English, in a young child of immigrant parents growing up in Australia. Dr. Qi's work is trendsetting in its focus on pragmatic and semantic aspects of the bilingual development process, which have been understudied phenomena so far. Bilingualism and child language scholars alike will appreciate the many bridges made between issues specific to the bilingual situation and theoretical issues relevant to the study of child language in general.” – Professor Annick De Houwer, University of Erfurt, and Director, European Research Network for Bilingual Studies ERBIS Germany

“Dr Qi’s detailed, fascinating account of Mandarin-English bilingual first language acquisition not only provides rich and unique empirical data but also addresses a range of theoretical and methodological questions that is central to the study of language acquisition, bilingualism, and child development. It will no doubt become a key reference for many years to come and should be read by students and researchers of linguistics, psychology, and education who are interested in the complex phenomenon of bilingualism and multilingualism that defines today’s world.” – Professor Li Wei, University of London

“In this pioneering study from Australia, Ruying Qi shows how a child can grow up fully bilingual within an immigrant speech community. Focusing on the child’s acquisition of pronouns, she shows how each language follows a distinct path of development. Informed by current theoretical perspectives on bilingual development, the book has important implications for the maintenance of Mandarin as a heritage language in overseas Chinese families and communities.” – Professor Stephen Matthews, University of Hong Kong, and Co-Director, Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre

“This is a fascinating case study of a child’s bilingual development in the time-honored tradition of earlier parent-researchers. For the first time, the development of both Mandarin and English is documented and compared in a bilingual child from age 1;7 to 4;0. The study offers new insights into the child’s use of pronouns and person identification strategies in the context of his overall early lexical and syntactic development in his two languages. It will serve as an inspiration for parents and researchers” – Professor Virginia Yip, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Director, Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre


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