Raising a child to be bilingual since an early age; is it a hinderance or an advantage?
Some people believe it can confuse a child, while some people believe it can help develop a child’s brain far better than a child being raised as monolingual.
With the staggering amount we continue to learn about science and technology, it is surprising how little we know about languages and how human brains interpret them. However, some studies explore the long-term effects of being bilingual.
Short answer, yes, it is something that is beneficial for a child.
Long answer, here are some of the myths people believe in and how studies have proven them wrong.
Bilingual Myth # 1:
Learning two languages confuses children and impairs their cognitive ability, causing delays in their speech or language development.
Bilingual Fact # 1:
If a child has difficulties with speech or language, it will become evident, regardless of language. However, this is not caused by learning two languages. Around the world, many children grow up learning more than one language without it affecting their educational development. On the contrary – instead of confusing them, studies have shown it enhances their cognitive flexibility.
Bilingual Myth #2:
Parents who speak a language other than their native language to their children will hurt their children’s ability to succeed in academics.
Bilingual Fact # 2:
It is actually best for parents to speak the language in which they are most fluent to their children. Immersion in another language-speaking classroom is the best approach for younger children.
For high school age children, it is better to receive instruction in the language they know while they’re learning a second language. Research shows many academic advantages of being bilingual, including superior problem solving and multitasking skills.
Bilingual Myth #3:
The older a person is, the harder it is to acquire a second language.
Bilingual Fact #3:
This is actually a fact in some ways. Some bilingual tasks, like acquiring native-like pronunciation in a second language, are easier for children. It is not impossible for adult learners to sound “native-like” but it may be more difficult to them.
HOWEVER, a study done on 835 native English speakers throughout a span of 65 years, showed that those who learned a second language performed better in language tasks than their monolingual counterparts. Furthermore, it showed that those that learned the second language after their eighteenth year, showed that they actually performed BETTER.
This showed it is never too late!
Ready to begin? Here are some resources to get you started on a daily language routine. Check out these language learning tips.
Here is a beautiful video that showcases how children thrive while learning a second language!