An introduction to the advantages of bilingualism

PDF Extract Language acquisition and language learning have enjoyed a great deal of interest throughout the years, with much theoretical and empirical research into its many aspects. Theories of language acquisition have flourished, with a number of books VanPatten and Williams describing as many as ten different frameworks. This might indicate there is no room for further reflection upon how languages are acquired and learnt.

An introduction to the advantages of bilingualism

An Introduction to Bilingualism: Principles and Processes - CRC Press Book

Messenger We live in a world of great linguistic diversity. There are, on the other hand, language communities that are monolingual, typically some parts of the English-speaking world.

In this case, bilingualism or multilingualism can be seen as an extraordinary situation — a source of admiration and worry at the same time.

But there are communities where bilingualism or multilingualism are the norm — for example in regions of Africa. A Cameroonian, for example, could speak Limbum and Sariboth indigenous languages, plus Ewondoa lingua franca, plus English or French, the official languages, plus Camfranglaisa further lingua franca used between anglophone and francophone Cameroonians.

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On a smaller scale, we all know families where bilingualism or multilingualism are the norm, because the parents speak different languages or because the family uses a language different from that of the community around them.

How difficult is it for a child to grow up in such an environment? And what are bilingual children capable of? Well, they are capable of quite a lot, even at a very young age. They can understand and produce expressions in more than one language, they know who to address in which language, they are able to switch very fast from one language to the other.

Noses for grammar Clearly we are talking here of a range of different skills: Social skills are the most known: But they also have linguistic skills, some very obvious, such as understanding and using words and expressions in different languages.

An introduction to the advantages of bilingualism

Less known are the cognitive skills developed by bilinguals, an issue of great interest for research at the moment, as seen, for example, in work by Ellen Bialystok and colleagues.

Probably due to the practice of switching languages, bilinguals are very good at taking different perspectives, dealing with conflicting cues and ignoring irrelevant information. This skill can be applied to domains other than language, making it an added value of bilingualism.

Is it worth it? Is it worth exposing the child to it? The linguistic, social and cognitive advantages mentioned above hold, independently of the specific languages. Any combination of languages has the same effect. A common worry is that trying to speak two or more languages could be too strenuous for the child.

But there is no need for concern: Learning to speak is genetically programmed. The brain is certainly able to cope with more than one language, as research and experience shows.

Telling you where to get off in two languages. The stress is then on the parents to ensure the opportunity to interact with speakers of the languages in question. Bilingualism is not genetic: One may, for example, hear bilinguals — children and adults — using words or expressions from two or more of the languages in their linguistic repertoire in a single sentence or text, a phenomenon known as code-switching.

Often people assume that the main reason for doing this is a lack of sufficient proficiency in one of the languages, such that the speaker cannot continue in the language they started in.

They also often assume that the choice of the words from one language or the other is random. Code-switching is common among bilinguals and, contrary to popular belief, it follows grammatical rules.

An introduction to the advantages of bilingualism

Research has shown regular patterns in code-switchinginfluenced by the languages concerned, by community norms and by which language s people learn first or use more frequently. Very often, code-switchers are very highly proficient in the languages concerned.

Code-switching also follows social rules: Additionally, if asked for clarification, they know if they have spoken too quietly or used the wrong language, and only switch in the latter case. Both bilingual children and adults have a range of reasons, including sociolinguistic reasons to code-switch.

Code-switching can be cool! All typically developing children will learn one language.- Influence of bilingualism on memory generalization during infancy” by Natalie Brito and Rachel Barr observes the advantages of early life experiences within a multi-language environment.

In the article the author’s discuss different studies implemented to support the hypothesis of the advantages of being introduced to a second language early in life.

Speaking in tongues: the many benefits of bilingualism

Balanced bilingualism, usually referring to an individual who has roughly equal ability in both languages, is also addressed. Studies that have examined advantages and disadvantages to children of bilingualism are reviewed and bilingual education, including cross-language transfer of skills, is addressed.

"In many non-Western countries, e.g., in Africa and Asia, bilingualism is the norm, and people are surprised to hear about the negative connotations of bilingualism.

They may see it as an expression of Western ethnocentrism" (Language Contact and Bilingualism, ). Monolingualism refers to the. Bilingualism Log Someone who is bilingual has the ability to use two languages, especially with equal fluency.

According to the United States Census, about million people speak a language other than English in their home. Numerous researchers agree that children exposed to a secon. Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, bilinguals often have important economic advantages over monolingual individuals as bilingual people are able to carry out duties that monolinguals that childhood bilingualism may be detrimental to both linguistic and cognitive development and consequently lead to poorer results at.

Not only does speaking multiple languages help us to communicate but bilingualism (or multilingualism) may actually confer distinct advantages to the developing brain. Because a bilingual child.

An Introduction to Bilingualism: Principles and Processes - Google Books