Benefits of bilingualism

“Research has shown that bilingualism is beneficial for children’s development and their future. Children exposed to different languages become more aware of different cultures, other people and other points of view. But they also tend to be better than monolinguals at ‘multitasking’ and focusing attention. They often are more precocious readers, and generally find it easier to learn other languages. Bilingualism gives children much more than two languages!”

From the website of Bilingualism Matters a centre at the University of Edinburgh, which aims “to  communicate what research shows us about speaking more than one language.”

How does a child learn 2 languages at the same time?   University of Western Sydney’s Dr Karen Mattock’s lab studies  involve babies, especially those that are learning two languages at the same time. Listen to her fascinating description of the way babies in bilingual households learn to speak.

Bilingualism may also delay dementia:

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/11November/Pages/Being-bilingual-may-slow-the-onset-of-dementia.aspx

A bilingual person may also often benefit from increased job opportunities because of their language skills.

Because of these benefits and the importance of a child’s cultural heritage it is important that bilingual children are encouraged to continue to use and develop their home language at the same time that they are learning English.

For more information about bilingualism see the links below:

Bilingualism Matters – has links to a variety of articles and online resources of interest to parents or teachers of bilingual children.

‘Being bilingual ‘boosts brain power’  This is an article from the BBC website

Human brain

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