However, bilingualism in itself does not bring any advantages when it comes to learning a foreign language. A new thesis in German from the University of Gothenburg shows that bilingual upper secondary school pupils perform somewhat below average in language tests, compared with those who only speak one language.
The author of the thesis, Johanna Klawitter Beusch, has monitored and tested a group of pupils from foreign backgrounds who learnt German as a beginner’s language at three different upper secondary schools in Gothenburg over a period of one year. A group of pupils from a Swedish background completed the same tests, and acted as a control group. In order to provide an accurate picture of the pupils from foreign backgrounds, Johanna investigated as many background factors as possible.
“It turned out that the pupils from foreign backgrounds often achieved poorer grades in English and Swedish, and had studied fewer foreign languages at school. Their parents also had a somewhat lower level of education, but these pupils generally took a more positive approach towards foreign languages, and towards German in particular. They were also more motivated.”
All the background factors studied showed a significant correlation with the test results achieved in both the study groups. The strongest correlation was noted between foreign language proficiency (i.e. the number of foreign languages that the pupils studied at school and their grades in these subjects) and the test results.
When only average results were compared, the pupils who only spoke one language performed somewhat better than the bilingual pupils. However, when taking the abovementioned background factors into account, these differences were evened out and the bilingual pupils even achieved slightly better results.
“My study shows the complexity of language learning. I have tried to keep a number of background factors constant in order to ascertain whether bilingualism in itself brings any advantages when learning a foreign language, and have found very little to suggest that this might be the case. One possible explanation could be an insufficient degree of bilingualism among the pupils being studied.”According to relatively unequivocal research findings, the cognitive advantages do not become apparent until the bilingual pupil has a high and age-adjusted level of proficiency in both his or her languages. According to Johanna, this shows how important native-language teaching is for first and second generation immigrants, as well as the importance of good Swedish language proficiency.
Some of the groups of pupils were also asked to explain how they dealt with completing the tasks in the word comprehension and reading comprehension tests. The aim here was to get a better insight into whether bilingual individuals use different strategies when confronted with linguistic problems.
“Both the monolingual and bilingual pupil groups used similar problem-solving strategies,” says Johanna. “However, the bilingual pupils were more inclined to explain how they arrived at a particular solution, and also thought that their solution was the correct solution. But problem-solving strategies that stood out in this way as being more conscious and explicit didn’t lead to better results, which could suggest that this type of propensity for verbalisation is culturally conditioned.”For further information:
Helena Aaberg | idw
New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences