Bilingual Advantage

Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009
Bilingual Advantage
32
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 3:03am

Since the subject of bilingualism and bilingual kids has come up here on and off over the years, I thought some might find the following article interesting:

"A cognitive neuroscientist, Ellen Bialystok has spent almost 40 years learning about how bilingualism sharpens the mind. Her good news: Among other benefits, the regular use of two languages appears to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Dr. Bialystok, 62, a distinguished research professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, was awarded a $100,000 Killam Prize last year for her contributions to social science. We spoke for two hours in a Washington hotel room in February and again, more recently, by telephone. An edited version of the two conversations follows.

[...]

We asked all the children if a certain illogical sentence was grammatically correct: “Apples grow on noses.” The monolingual children couldn’t answer. They’d say, “That’s silly” and they’d stall. But the bilingual children would say, in their own words, “It’s silly, but it’s grammatically correct.” The bilinguals, we found, manifested a cognitive system with the ability to attend to important information and ignore the less important.

[...]

In terms of monolinguals and bilinguals, the big thing that we have found is that the connections are different. So we have monolinguals solving a problem, and they use X systems, but when bilinguals solve the same problem, they use others. One of the things we’ve seen is that on certain kinds of even nonverbal tests, bilingual people are faster.

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Registered: 08-22-2009
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 7:48am

Avatar for mom34101
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 10:41am
My niece's husband is hispanic, but can't speak Spanish. His parents wanted their kids to be "American" and saw speaking Spanish as getting in the way of that. I have to think this is changing since I've read that it won't be that many years until there are more Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. than English-speaking.
Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 1:10pm

It really is a pity how common that is int he US, loss of the other language from one generation to the next, all in the name of becoming American.

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 1:12pm

The funny thing is that I could instantly recognize what she was describing in the "apples grow on noses" experiment. Dd has an unerring grammar sense and is very precise when it comes to translation as well, always distinguishing carefully between literal and actual meaning, for example.

What it tells me is that if bilingualism was encouraged and more common, we might avoid errors like the one in my avatar.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 1:23pm
mom34101 wrote:
My niece's husband is hispanic, but can't speak Spanish. His parents wanted their kids to be "American" and saw speaking Spanish as getting in the way of that. I have to think this is changing since I've read that it won't be that many years until there are more Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. than English-speaking.

That's exactly the reason why I can't speak Spanish.





Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 1:30pm

"they had also read something about bilingualism being "harmful" to a child's cognitive growth,

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 2:41pm

Good grief, that really makes me angry. What a bunch of nonsense. This propaganda of course also resulted in many parents with really limited English (not saying your parents had limited English, speaking generally) having no real language in which to communicate with their own kids.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 3:34pm

that's too bad because there certainly are advantages (i would wage greater advantages) with children than older people.

 

Avatar for mom34101
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 3:47pm
Yeah, it would have been so easy for you to learn it growing up. But your parents were probably just following the prevailing theory at the time.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Fri, 06-03-2011 - 8:34pm

Oh yeah, I don't hold it against them in the slightest.





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