Benefits of Bilingualism

By September 11, 2015Parkland Players

In current Canadian society, many people and many children speak more than one language, and this can have a number of benefits in early childhood as well as later years.

  • Bilingual children are better at focusing their attention on only the information that is relevant to the task at hand
  • Bilingualism is found to be connected to increased creativity and better planning and problem solving
  • Aging in the brain is reduced in bilingual individuals
  • Bilinguals can sometimes have greater access to resources, people and career options

How do children learn more than one language? Bilingual acquisition can occur in 2 possible ways:

  • Simultaneous acquisition: this is the process of bilingualism in which learning of two language occurs at the same time starting from birth or the second language is introduced when the child is under 3 years old
  • Sequential acquisition: this is the process of language acquisition in which the child learns a second language after the first language is already established (usually after age of 3). This is often the case when a family immigrates to a new country OR a child speaks one language at home and does not learn a new language until he/she is of school age. Children who go through sequential acquisition often can experience:
    • Initial use of home language before being able to switch to second language
    • A silent or nonverbal period for the first couple months of exposure to the new language as they are trying to learn it
    • Use of short/imitative sentences
    • Eventually the child will begin to produce his/her own sentences and become comfortable in the second language

How to Support Your Bilingual Child

  • Do not force a certain language with your child in the home, do what is comfortable for you and your family
  • Don’t worry if your child mixes his two languages
  • Provide many opportunities for your child to engage with both languages they are trying to learn

 

Source: http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Bilingualism-in-Young-Children–Separating-Fact-fr.aspx

 

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