‘Bilingual’ people are differentiated from ‘Monolingual’ people by their frequent communication with two or more languages (Barac & Bialystok, 2012). Bilinguals are thought to be smarter than Monolinguals (Rubio-Fernández & Glucksberg, 2012). Smartness is a measure of successfulness in their education (Hatt, 2007, p. 146). Because of this, there is a debate to decide whether the next generation of children should be exposed to a Bilingual education. This has led to research into whether Bilingual education slows the learning of literacy and
According to a 2006 European Commission survey, 56% of respondents said they could speak a language other than their mother tongue. In many countries, the proportion of bilinguals is much higher. For example, 99% of Luxembourg and 95% of Latvian populations speak more than one language. Even in the United States, where English is pre-dominantly used as a single language, a large number of people using non-English languages at home have increased by 140% since 1980. Thus, bilingualism is an extensive cultural, linguistic, and cognitive phenomenon that is extensively carried out in modern society. Bilingualism bridges the understanding of the world around us, communicating with others, promoting the sharing of cultural phenomena. Many
Goral, Campanelli & Spiro (2013) examined the behavioral performance of elderly bilinguals in three cognitive domains (inhibition, attention and working memory), and suggests that bilingualism may confer a cognitive advantage in old age only for a subset of bilinguals.
For language development, there is a popular debate on whether there is an advantage to being a bilingual individual. There is a large amount of evidence that supports both sides of the argument. In terms of bilingual advantage, various studies focus on how bilingual or multilingual individuals outperform individuals on executive control tasks that are either linguistic of non-linguistic in nature. The advantages stem from greater foundations of executive function, such as cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control, in bilinguals than in non-bilinguals. Young and older bilingual individuals show a cognitive advantage because they outperform non-bilingual individuals during executive function tasks for enhanced attentional control, conflict
Cognitive advantages, bilingualism is an important factor of cognitive development (Peal and Lambert, 1962), “bilingual children are more responsive at concept formation and posses great mental flexibility.” Research has shown that children with bilingual education have cognitive advantages. The children that had knowledge in the first and second language had greater linguistic awareness and flexibility. Exposure to the two languages
What do we know about the effects bilingualism has on cognitive development? Our world is becoming progressively bilingual; in the US 21% of school age children between the ages of 5-17 years old can speak other than English at home and this number is expected to increase in the coming years. On top of social reasons, the positive effects to the cognitive development of the brain when introduced to a second language are of many. The age of acquisition is vital due to the plasticity of the brain, which according to the critical period hypothesis, begins to level after five years of age. In addition to plasticity, bilingual speakers are more capable of focusing their attention to solve complex problems compared to monolingual speakers.
While some may think that this is not certain studies have proven otherwise. In The Power of a Bilingual Brain, Jeffery Kluger states that, “Research is increasingly showing that the brains of people who know two or more languages….. Multilingual people, studies show, are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas.”(1) Clearly, a bilingual education places students a step ahead not only in their education careers but, as well as in their daily life’s outside school. Jeffery Kluger discusses how a bilingual brain is not necessarily smarter brain, but is a more flexible and practical brain. Evidently, demonstrating to us one of the many benefits of a bilingual
“Cognitive functions can be defined as cerebral activities that lead to knowledge, encompass reasoning, memory, attention, and language that leads directly to the attainment of information and, thus, knowledge” (What are cognitive functions). Many students at Doulos are unaware of the benefits of knowing two languages. Ironically students also don’t know that their own brain and its skills are improving because of their second language. Doulos teaches classes throughout the whole day in both English and Spanish. Students are regularly changing between languages and their brain is always active with both languages. “This constant practice strengthens the control mechanisms and changes the associated brain regions” (Marian, Viorica, and Anthony Shook). People who are bilingual are capable of switching between tasks more efficiently. “For example, when bilinguals have to switch from categorizing objects by color (red or green) to categorizing them by shape, they do so more rapidly than monolingual people, reflecting better cognitive control when changing strategies on the fly” (Marian, Viorica, and Anthony Shook). Students’ cognitive and sensory process skills are more developed due to being bilingual (Marian, Viorica, and Anthony Shook). These improvements allow students to better process and understand information in different environments, thus leading to better
Since the early 20th century numerous studies, in psychology as well as linguistics, have been conducted on the effects of bilingualism on cognitive abilities (Saer, 1923; Smith, 1923; Gowan & Torrance, 1965). Until the 1960s there was some consensus among experts about the detrimental effect of bilingualism on cognitive development. However, after the publication of Peal and Lambert’s article on the relation of bilingualism to intelligence, most of these theories were discredited due to methodological flaws (Peal & Lambert, 1962). A majority of the studies conducted before this period did not take into consideration the differences in age, gender, culture, second language proficiency and socio-economic status between the monolingual and bilingual participants. Research conducted thereafter has found largely positive effects of bilingualism on cognitive functions (Landry, 1974; Holtzman, 1980). Recent research in the field has focused on understanding the relationship between bilingualism and specific aspects of cognition, such as inhibitory control, creativity and metalinguistic awareness, as opposed to the earlier studies which tried to associate bilingualism with intelligence. Even though, most studies have found a positive correlation between bilingual proficiency and cognitive benefits, there is still much debate in this area of research (Leikin, 2012). In 1992, Ricciardelli
A recent study was held at the University of Granada and the University of York in Toronto, Canada. This study showed that the working memory, the system that retains, processes, and revises information over shorter periods of time, is better in bilingual children than monolingual students. From mental calculations to the comprehension of a reading, working memory plays a huge part in many activities we perform. The Journal of Experimental Child Psychology published this study. The goal of this study was to see how the development of the working memory is influenced by multilingualism. In addition, it explored the link between superior cognition and working memory for bilingual people.
This paper will touch upon the positive benefits of bilingualism and how it affects children, during their childhood and well into adulthood. In addition this paper will look into the scientific and general advantages of bilingualism through scientific studies on the subject. This paper will also identify some of the pros and cons of growing up bilingual. Specifically to be cognitive flexibility, metalinguistic awareness, communicative sensitivity, attentiveness and combatting dementia. A new research era began into bilingualism after the research of Peal and Lambert in 1962, this was a break through in research, which proved that kids who were bilingual did better at the tasks than those who were monolingual. Prior to this, bilingualism had been thought to cause negative set backs among children. These setbacks include retardation in children and increased confusion in separating both languages at an early stage. Although this theory has been outdated, bilingualism is still known to cause confusion for a short period of time throughout childhood lifespan. Although bilingualism has its pros and cons, there are more pros than cons. Kids who grow up in a bilingual household are known to experience some confusion separating two languages or infants are known to go through a silent stage. In simple tasks as the “Simon task”, bilingual participants are known to perform better and have faster reaction times. Simon tasks test the individual’s attentive control as well as reaction
assert in their study that, while there is strong evidence in support of the positive cognitive effects of bilingualism in children, there is a lack of research to determine whether this effect persists into adulthood. The aim of their research is to pursue this line of investigation. Furthermore, if a positive effect is observed in adulthood, the authors also want to evaluate whether this advantage mitigates the cognitive decline observed in older adults. This study needs the reader to accept that the previous research which shows that bilingual children possess a cognitive advantage over monolingual children is valid. Based on this observed advantage in children, they hypothesize that the advantage would be seen in younger adults as well as older
According to a study by the University of Phoenix Research Institute, “demand for American workers who speak foreign languages- particularly Spanish and Chinese- will rise over the next decade”(“Rising Demand for Bilingual Workers among Employers”). As the United States continues to diversify, being bilingual or multilingual is becoming a key part to be successful in life. A student’s school education, beginning at the first day of kindergarten, is supposed to build and prepare a student for the future, so why is properly learning a new language not a priority from the start? The teaching of a foreign language should begin elementary school because learning at an earlier age is optimum for an easier and effective learning process and provides significant benefits that can last a lifetime.