Friday, May 04, 2012

More on bilingualism...

"... a growing body of research now offers a further rationale for bilinguism: the regular, high-level use of more than one language may actually improve early brain development.
Photo from Multilingualkids
According to several different studies, command of two or more languages bolsters the ability to focus in the face of distraction, decide between competing alternatives, and disregard irrelevant information. These essential skills are grouped together, known in brain terms as “executive function.” The research suggests they develop ahead of time in bilingual children, and are already evident in kids as young as 3 or 4".
Full article available at The Daily Best "Why it's smart to be bilingual" by Casey Schwartz, Aug 7 2011

Three children, three languages
The benefits of multilingualism are definitely much more than the opposite. I personaly speak three languages on a daily basis, in a country where the great majority of people speak an average of ONE!

When I learnt English as a late teenager I failed to comprehend its usefulness, but in later life it has certainly made the germanic languages easier to deal with. I have also found that multilingualism is a huge plus in the University where discourses in foreign language bring a very different linguistic feel, or ambiance to understanding very different conceptual issue.

It seems to me an odd topic to talk about the benefits of bilingualism, in a multilingual environment. In my country some people still consider that monolingualism is the only way to teach and learn, and the only way to socialize children for democracy. Strange way to do it!

I also found this article very interesting: 

Life as a Bilingual. The reality of living with two (or more) languages. By Francois Grosjean, Ph.D.

"I have achieved greater stature in my work environment; I have developed my lingual capacities; I have become more open-minded toward minorities and more aware of their linguistic problems; I have enjoyed various forms of literature and felt a certain amount of pride in being able to read in three different languages . . . Life never becomes boring, because there is more than just one language available."

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