Saturday, March 21, 2015


I read a couple of interesting articles recently on bilingualism. It’s such a shame that in English-speaking countries, we generally don’t start teaching children another language until they’re on the older side. And yet we know very well from research that the earlier we start the better. When will we learn?

The first article talks about how bilingualism changes children’s beliefs. “Most young children are essentialists: They believe that human and animal characteristics are innate. That kind of reasoning can lead them to think that traits like native language and clothing preference are intrinsic rather than acquired. But a new study suggests that certain bilingual kids are more likely to understand that it's what one learns, rather than what one is born with, that makes up a person's psychological attributes.”
The second piece looks at bilingualism from an older person’s perspective to explore what advantages speaking more than one language has on our brains as we age.

1 comment:

Billy said...

Learning a second language is not the same as being bilingual. In order to be a bilingual you need to be brought up in both languages from an early age - not just learn at school (or kindergarten etc) a few lessons a week in the second language.

On the other hand, research has shown that there is no advantage for kids who start learning a second language at an early age compared to those who start learning later. On the other hand, it is better to strengthen the first language, to give the extra teaching hours to get kids proficient (in reading, writing, understanding, etc) in their first language before beginning to learn a second language.