Re: Curiousity. Who here is bilingual?May 23rd, 2004
Knowing another language, is never bad.
I know that after puberty it is increasingly difficult to learn a new
language, but I don't know what effect learning two languages has on
the overall speed of aquisition. Does learning two languages at the
same time result in slower linguistic development? Has research been
published on this issue?
Learning two languages at the same time does not result in slower
linguistic development. Children who are exposed to two languages will
naturally acquire both languages just as easily as acquiring one
There are a number advantages that bilingual children have over
monolingual children. Learning a second language benefits a child’s
cognitive development. Bilingual children also tend to perform better
in other subjects like mathematics and science. Children who are
bilingual also have an increased capacity for learning languages as
adults. Children who are bilingual do tend to dominate in one
language, often this will be the language of schooling.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding bilingualism.
Many people believe that bilingual children get confused between the
two languages and will tend to mix them up. However children are
extremely proficient in separating the two languages. Some tasks like
mathematical skills will often be carried out in one language and then
translated to the other.
A second language is most easily acquired during the time frame from
birth to puberty. After puberty changes in the brain make it harder to
learn a second language. However adults still have the capability of
becoming highly proficient speakers of second languages. Studies have
shown that when age is related to language acquisition, age
differences reflect differences in the situation of learning rather
that the capacity to learn.
A great deal of research has been carried out on bilingualism. An
excellent source of this research can be found by following the link
given below to ‘Database of bilingualism’ where details of the latest
research in this field can be found. The link to age related factors
in second language acquisition also gives many links to research in