Bilinguals Compared to Monolinguals Essay

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Overview of subject: Before knowing whether or not bilingualism is a blessing or a curse, it is important to first investigate the similarities and differences between monolingual and bilingual children. Monolingual children in the United States are native English speakers who speak English at home with their family members and also in the community. Bilingual children in the United States speak a language other than English at home and speak English at school or within the community. Bilingual children may also speak both English and a non-English language at home, depending on their family’s native languages. Children raised bilingually from birth are “simultaneous” bilingual speakers and children who learn their second language …show more content…
254). More and more children are bilingual learners but not many classrooms are prepared to teach using two or more languages. Synthesized speech software can play an important role in helping teachers communicate with young children. However, if they cannot understand the synthesized sentences, using it is meaningless.
In this study, the children were between the ages of four and six years old. They included 10 monolingual English-speaking and 10 bilingual English/non-English-speaking children. Each child heard 16 different sentences in English, half spoken by a real person’s natural voice and half by Perfect Paul from DECtalk, a synthesized speech software. Each child was asked to repeat the sentences they heard.
Bilingual children had lower accuracy when repeating sentences they heard from both the natural and synthesized voices when compared to monolingual children. However, both groups had lower accuracy when repeating sentences they heard from the synthesized voice. The monolinguals had a 15% deterioration in performance between natural and synthetic speech while the bilingual group’s decline was double that of the monolingual group’s performance (Axmear et al., 2005).
Implications for Early Childhood:
This kind of research is valuable for the future of bilingual and dual language classrooms. For children learning English as a second language,
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