Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Immigrant Languages

  • Pip McGirlEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_9159


Minority language; Second language


Immigrant languages are spoken by immigrant communities. They are distinct from heritage languages or historical minority languages that have links to indigenous peoples or have been spoken in the country of migration for several generations.

Current Knowledge

It typically takes between 2–5 years to develop oral or conversational language proficiency in a second language; however, acquisition of academic language proficiency can take considerably longer, usually between 5 and 10 years. The rate of academic language acquisition is mediated by a number of factors including the age and educational experience in the primary language at the time of arrival in the host country. Children aged 8 or above on arrival typically take 5–7 years to reach academic language proficiency, whereas younger L2 learners can take up to 10 years (Hakuta et al. 2000). After the age of 12, L2 learners make good progress but do not have time to catch up...

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References and Readings

  1. Blommaert, J. (2009). Language, Asylum and the national order. Current Anthropology, 50(4), 451–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cummins, J. (1981). Age on arrival and immigrant second language learning in Canada: A reassessment. Applied Linguistics, 2(2), 132–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hakuta, K., Butler, Y. G., & Witt, D. (2000). How long does it take English learners to attain proficiency? Santa Barbara: University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute.Google Scholar
  4. Kaplan, I., Stolk, Y., Valibhoy, M., Tucker, A., & Baker, J. (2016). Cognitive assessment of refugee children: Effects of trauma and new language acquisition. Transcultural Psychiatry, 53(1), 81–109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  6. Kohnert, K., Windsor, J., & Ebert, K. D. (2010). Bilingual children with primary language impairment: Issues, evidence and implications for clinical actions. Journal of Communication Disorders, 43(6), 456–473.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, School Psychology DepartmentChicagoUSA