Related Articles in the Encyclopedia of Language and Education. In this chapter, I provide a cursory explanation of the potential relation- ship between bilingualism and SLA, pointing to the common ground between these two areas of inquiry.
In addition to facilitating cross-cultural communication, this trend also positively affects cognitive abilities.
Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another. In addition, bilingualism has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum: Bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline.
We are surrounded by language during nearly every waking moment of our lives. We use language to communicate our thoughts and feelings, to connect with others and identify with our culture, and to understand the world around us.
And for many people, this rich linguistic environment involves not just one language but two or more.
Simultaneous bilingualism (or multilangualism) is when a child acquires two (or many) languages simultaneously, for example when they are raised by parents speaking more than one language. Education Research Complete covers all aspects of education including multilingual education, health education, testing, curriculum instruction, administration, policy, funding, and all levels of education from early childhood to higher education. Bilingualism, or fluency in two languages, was once thought to be bad for children. It was assumed that since the mind was constantly conflicted over which language to use, children's minds worked.
In a survey conducted by the European Commission in56 percent of respondents reported being able to speak in a language other than their mother tongue. In many countries that percentage is even higher—for instance, 99 percent of Luxembourgers and 95 percent of Latvians speak more than one language.
Europe and the United Bilingualism language acquisition are not alone, either. For bilingual people, this activation is not limited to a single language; auditory input activates corresponding words regardless of the language to which they belong. We tend to look at things that we are thinking, talking, or hearing about.
Furthermore, language co-activation is so automatic that people consider words in both languages even without overt similarity. For example, when Chinese-English bilingual people judge how alike two English words are in meaning, their brain responses are affected by whether or not the Chinese translations of those words are written similarly.
Having to deal with this persistent linguistic competition can result in language difficulties. From a communicative standpoint, this is an important skill— understanding a message in one language can be difficult if your other language always interferes.
To maintain the relative balance between two languages, the bilingual brain relies on executive functions, a regulatory system of general cognitive abilities that includes processes such as attention and inhibition.
This constant practice strengthens the control mechanisms and changes the associated brain regions. When the color and the word match i. The cognitive system must employ additional resources to ignore the irrelevant word and focus on the relevant color.
The ability to ignore competing perceptual information and focus on the relevant aspects of the input is called inhibitory control.
Bilingual people often perform better than monolingual people at tasks that tap into inhibitory control ability. Bilingual people are also better than monolingual people at switching between two tasks; for example, when bilinguals have to switch from categorizing objects by color red or green to categorizing them by shape circle or trianglethey do so more rapidly than monolingual people, 13 reflecting better cognitive control when changing strategies on the fly.
For instance, when bilingual people have to switch between naming pictures in Spanish and naming them in English, they show increased activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex DLPFCa brain region associated with cognitive skills like attention and inhibition.
When monolingual and bilingual adolescents listen to simple speech sounds e. To put it another way, in bilingual people, blood flow a marker for neuronal activity is greater in the brain stem in response to the sound. Intriguingly, this boost in sound encoding appears to be related to advantages in auditory attention.Simultaneous bilingualism is a form of bilingualism that takes place when a child becomes bilingual by learning two languages from birth.
Language acquisition in simultaneous bilinguals generally takes two common forms of exposure to a second language.
Cognitive Consequences of Bilingualism. Research has overwhelmingly shown that when a bilingual person uses one language, the other is active at the same time. Early Childhood English Language Learner (ECELL) An ECELL is a child who is between the ages of zero and five (early stages of development) and who is in the process of learning English as a second language.
Simultaneous bilingualism (or multilangualism) is when a child acquires two (or many) languages simultaneously, for example when they are raised by parents speaking more than one language.
An overview of Gardner's socio-educational model and the significance of motivation as a contributing factor in second language (L2) acquisition.
Second language acquisition - essential information. The information and advice on this page was written for FIS teachers in advance of the visit to the school of Professor J.