Study Into Dyslexia And Bilingual Acquisition During The Critical Period

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I recently attended a talk given by Dr. Ioulia Kovelman of the UM Psychology department; she was presenting her research into dyslexia and bilingual acquisition during the critical period. At the end, a colleague of hers asked this question: “Why do you think that so little research has been done on bilinguals and multilinguals?” She smiled and shrugged her shoulders, saying, “Research relies on funding. Funding comes from governments, and the governments with the most money are empires. America, Russia, England…they are empires. And empires are largely monolingual. They have to be so they maintain their dominance. So, the research is done on monolinguals to further the reach of the empire.” I can say that I’ve never thought of the…show more content…
Now, we have more data that that directly contradicts those views, such as the fact that a child can simultaneously learn two languages from birth with bilingual first language acquisition (Ng and Wigglesworth, 2011), or Ronjat’s (1913) hypothesis that bilingual children have better meta-linguistic skills. More and more studies on bilingualism are being funded, especially with public opinion backing the prevalence and usefulness of multilingualism, especially in this age of globalization. As the world becomes more connected through the internet, it becomes more apparent that the prevalence of the “monolingualism as the gold standard” myth is continually perpetuated by largely monolingual populations, as Ioulia stated. The monolinguals in those areas may judge both bilingual children and adults by their linguistic abilities compared to their own grasp on their one language. Biases may develop or already be present against speakers with non-native accents or that make semantic or syntactical mistakes; this in turn may encourage bilinguals to speak the language of their current community more, and it may even cause them to raise the next generation (their children) monolingually, forfeiting the heritage language in favor of the non-heritage language. These
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