Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bilinguals find it easier to learn a third language

02.02.2011
The study also found that Russian speakers had a better grasp of Hebrew than Hebrew speakers themselves. "Learning a mother tongue and preserving it does not compromise the ability to learn an additional language. The opposite is true: Knowing Russian enforces Hebrew fluency and command of both languages increases skills in English," the researchers noted.

Bilinguals find it easier to learn a third language, as they gain a better aptitude for languages, a new study from the University of Haifa reveals.

Prof. Salim Abu-Rabia and Ekaterina Sanitsky of the Department of Special Education, who conducted the study, set out to examine what benefits bilingualism might have in the process of learning a third language. They hypothesized that students who know two languages would have an easier time gaining control over a third language than would students who are fluent in only one language.

For this study, two groups of 6th grade students in Israel were chosen to represent a sample of students studying English as a foreign language. The first group comprised 40 students, immigrants from the FSU whose mother tongue is Russian and who speak fluent Hebrew as a second language. The second group comprised 42 native Hebrew-speaking students with no fluency in another language, besides the English being studied in school as a foreign language.

Each participant took part in two meetings: a group meeting and an individual meeting. At the group meeting, the participants were given tests that assessed reading strategy and familiarity with the orthography of each language – Hebrew, English and Russian for the Russian speakers, and were asked to fill out personal questionnaires. At the individual student meetings, the researchers gave the Hebrew-only speakers a test in Hebrew and English, and the same tests with Russian added were given to those who were Russian speakers.

After comparing and merging the results of these tests, the researchers were able to conclude that those students whose mother tongue was Russian demonstrated higher proficiency not only in the new language, English, but also in Hebrew. They found that the total average between the tests of the two groups was above 13% in the Russian-speakers' favor. Some of the specific tests showed particularly wide gaps in command of English, the Russian speakers achieving the higher scores: in writing skills, there was a 20% gap between the scores; in orthographic ability, the gap reached up to 22%; and in morphology it soared as high as 35%. In the intelligence test (the Raven Progressive Matrices test), the gap was over 7% on the side of the Russian speakers. According to the researchers, these results show that the more languages a person learns, the higher his or her intelligence will be.

This team of scholars also noted that the fact that the Russian speakers had better Hebrew skills than the Hebrew speakers themselves indicates that acquiring a mother tongue and preserving that language in a bilingual environment does not come at the expense of learning a second language – Hebrew in this case. In fact, the opposite is true: fluency and skills in one language assist in the language acquisition of a second language, and possessing skills in two languages can boost the learning process of a third language.

"Gaining command of a number of languages improves proficiency in native languages," Prof. Abu-Rabia explained. "This is because languages reinforce one another, and provide tools to strengthen phonologic, morphologic and syntactic skills. These skills provide the necessary basis for learning to read. Our study has also shown that applying language skills from one language to another is a critical cognitive function that makes it easier for an individual to go through the learning process successfully. Hence, it is clear that tri-lingual education would be most successful when started at a young age and when it is provided with highly structured and substantive practice," he concluded.

For more details contact Rachel Feldman • Tel: +972-4-8288722

Communications and Media Relations
University of Haifa
press@univ.haifa.ac.il

Rachel Feldman | University of Haifa
Further information:
http://www.haifa.ac.il

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>