Reading Response to Chapter. One

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When reading of the three types of bilinguals proposed by Uriel Weinreich in chapter one (P.11), I came to realize there will be one more label on my social networking profile – A subordinate bilingual. To fully define me as a subordinate bilingual, however, can be perplexing. Because many researchers have excluded it from the types of bilingualism and leave it into the coordinate bilinguals. Meanwhile, based on my understanding of the definition of coordinate bilingualism, I failed to notice the overlaps between two types. As Cook cites coordinate bilinguals are not able to translate them while using their first language and the second language (P.11). What has confused me surrounding the definition of coordinate bilinguals is that coordinate bilinguals know both languages equally well and can use them in any situation. It obviously contradicts the way subordinate bilinguals use their second language. Cook accurately described the way of subordinate bilinguals processing their second language. “Their second language is indirectly linked to the concept through their translation equivalents in the first language, namely the second language ties into the first language” (p.12). This is a demanding process, particularly for those who may attain their bilingualism later in life. As it requires a huge amount of language input, including grammar, vocabulary and even collocation if people want their expression of the second language to be the same as a native speaker. So, back to my question, when considering such subordinate bilinguals whose second language is not equally well as their first language, in other words, they could not bypass the translation equivalents in their first language to get to grips with the second language.

How could we define them as coordinate bilinguals?