Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study examines role of bilingualism in children's development

08.02.2012
A new study on children who are raised bilingual examined the effects on children's development of growing up speaking two languages. The study found that different factors were responsible for the language- and non-language-related outcomes of bilingualism found in previous research.

The research was carried out at York University in Toronto and published in the journal Child Development.

Bilingual children show differences in how they develop language and cognitive skills through the early school years. Children who grow up speaking two languages have slower language acquisition in each language than children raised speaking just one language. However, they have better metalinguistic development that gives them a deeper understanding of the structure of language, a skill that's important for literacy. And they perform better on tests of nonverbal executive control, that is, tests that measure children's ability to focus attention where necessary without being distracted and shift attention when required.

Because bilingualism is often tied to other factors—including differences in culture, socioeconomic status, immigration history, and language—it's difficult to determine which aspect of the bilingual experience is responsible for outcomes, or indeed, whether it's bilingualism at all.

To determine what effects can be associated with being raised speaking two languages, researchers compared more than 100 6-year-old monolingual and bilingual children (English monolinguals, Chinese-English bilinguals, French-English bilinguals, and Spanish-English bilinguals) using three tasks that measured verbal development and one nonverbal task that measured executive control. All the children had similar levels of socioeconomic status.

The bilingual groups differed in the degree of similarity between languages, cultural background, immigration history, and language of schooling. Nevertheless, on an executive control task in which children needed to switch between two sorting rules to classify a set of pictures, all bilingual groups performed similarly and exceeded monolinguals. Differences in language, culture, and immigration all produced the same bilingual advantage compared to the monolinguals. In contrast, the best performance on the language tasks was achieved by bilingual children whose language of instruction was the same as the language of the test and whose two languages had more overlap.

"In sum, executive control outcomes for bilingual children are general, but performance on verbal tasks is specific to factors in the bilingual experience, like how close a child's two language are, and whether they are assessed in the same language they are taught in school," according to Ellen Bialystok, Distinguished Research Professor in the department of psychology at York University, who took part in the study.

Sarah Hutcheon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.srcd.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

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: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>