The Importance Of Bilingualism In Language Development

1522 Words 7 Pages
Early acquisition of vocabulary, and the development of linguistic and communicative competence have been largely associated with the input children get from their environment. The social world, home environment, and routines children are exposed to provide the input they need in order to become competent speakers. Even when the child is in utero, the spoken language outside of the womb affects children’s sensitivity to certain sounds. Consistent with this idea, there is evidence showing that the language input—including child’s native language and other languages child is exposed to—builds the foundation of the child’s language development (Mann, 2013). As language is the outcome of what children hear, bilingualism—a situation in which the …show more content…
Bilinguals have greater mental flexibility and higher level of concept formation, which allows them to inhibit one language and selectively attend to the target language. One study examined the effect of bilingualism on attention switching task among deaf adults (Kushalnagar, Hannay, & Hernandez, 2010). Adults were presented with central and peripheral visual stimuli and their responses to stimuli were recorded. Findings demonstrate that balanced bilinguals performed better in these tasks compared to unbalanced bilinguals because they selectively attended to stimuli by inhibiting their responses when a stimuli was not present. The results suggest that bilinguals perform better in tasks requiring attention and inhibition, which can be attributed to their advanced higher order cognitive abilities. Furthermore, studies have shown that bilinguals have advantage in terms of attentional control. In one of her studies measuring children’s executive functioning, Bialystok (1999) administered the dimensional change card sort. The task required children to sort out the cards according to the first rule given by the experimenter. When the rule was changed children were asked to sort out the cards based on the new rule. The study found that bilinguals performed better than monolinguals in solving problems requiring high levels of attentional control. As findings suggest, bilinguals perform better than monolinguals in tasks requiring higher order cognitive abilities, such as attention switch and attentional

Related Documents