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A recent study led by Janet Werker, a psychologist at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia, suggests that children who learn two languages at once may have increased cognitive abilities such as enhanced visual and auditory sensitivity. While Werker does not believe that a person must grow up in a bilingual environment to gain such advantages, the study suggests that it can’t hurt.

Werker studied both bilingual and monolingual infants over their first eight months of development, comparing their perceptual abilities. One of the unique findings was that bilingual children seemed to be able to “change the rules” involved with language learning — essentially using the sensory skills needed for both languages in a variety of mental situations.

The findings run counter to the theory that suggests bilingualism may actually lead to language confusion. Benjamin Lee Whorf, the American linguist, once said, “Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we think about.” Whorf’s linguistic studies led to the principles of the Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity – a belief that speakers of different languages learn, think, and act differently depending on the language they speak and write. From Whorf’s findings, one may conclude that a child who engages in code-switching – the use of two or more languages in everday interactions – will develop language confusion. Scholars postulate that language confusion thus equals confusion  with simple cognitive processing. Werker points out that there is no strong evidence of this – in fact bilingualism is common throughout the world and only in North America does it seem to be an issue.

Werker’s findings lend credence to the theory that babies are just as able to learn two languages from birth as they are one. In addition, babies who grow up in a bilingual environment are learning to pay attention to perceptual cues pertaining to two distinguishing languages, potentially increasing how much time they spend processing the world around them.

Have you had any experience that supports or contests this study? Has speaking more than one language boosted your ability to navigate through the world, or has it ever caused you trouble? Share your thoughts, below.

SUCCESSFUL INVESTING: BP stock receives ‘hold’ rating

The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV) February 6, 2007 | Andrew Leckey Q. I am a shareholder in BP PLC who is concerned about the company’s prospects, especially with its leadership issues. – K.L., via the Internet A. The giant oil company, formed by the merger of British Petroleum Co. and Amoco Corp. in 1998, has set the bar high with production growth targets that exceed those of its competitors.

It has an impressive portfolio of deep-water oil and gas projects and in liquefied natural gas, while its chemical operations are especially strong in Asia. A consistent performer, it hasn’t had an unprofitable year in the past decade, and its disclosure of financial information has been admirable.

Despite the London-based company’s positives, the entire oil industry’s dramatic earnings growth is slowing down, and BP finds itself dealing with its own particular set of issues.

BP (BP) shares are down 6 percent this year following gains of 4 percent last year, 10 percent in 2005 and 18 percent in 2004. Oil spills in Alaska and allegations of improper energy trading, which it denies, have been concerns. It also derives more of its production from Russia than any other major oil company, an added political risk. web site bp stock price

Most recently, an independent panel chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker III found that its U.S. operations had “significant” safety problems at five refineries. The 374-page report, commissioned after an explosion at BP’s Texas City, Texas, refinery killed 15 workers and injured many others, determined that effective safety leadership had not been provided. Federal regulators have similarly been critical.

BP has settled several lawsuits and set aside $400 million to resolve legal disputes from that explosion. The total cost, including repairs and lost profits, is estimated to be about $2 billion.

Amid these issues, the consensus analyst rating on BP stock is currently “hold,” according to Thomson Financial. That consists of five “strong buys,” one “buy,” 14 “holds” and one “underperform.” Regarding management, Chief Executive John Browne, who boldly built the company into a global powerhouse during a decade that included the Amoco merger, is stepping down from his position this summer, 1 1/2 years ahead of schedule. He said the safety problems were his responsibility.

Tony Hayward, head of BP’s exploration and production unit, will replace him. He is moving quickly to improve safety, including allowing an outside body to monitor safety for five years.

BP earnings are expected to decline nearly 2 percent in 2007. The three-year annualized growth rate forecast is for a 14 percent gain.

Q. Should I keep my shares of Artisan International Fund? – C.J., via the Internet A. It’s definitely not a run-of-the-mill foreign fund.

Highly respected portfolio manager Mark Yockey has run it since its inception 11 years ago. Because he detects potential growth in many more places than most of his competitors, the holdings are diversified across many sectors and regions.

While value funds have generally outpaced growth funds such as Yockey’s in recent years, the patient manager’s results have been solid. That success has attracted considerable money to not only this fund, but to institutional and separate accounts that he also runs.

The $11 billion Artisan International Fund (ARTIX) is up 18 percent over the past 12 months and has a three-year annualized return of 18 percent. Both results rank at or near the top one- fourth of foreign large-growth funds.

“Artisan International gets our highest recommendation as a good core choice to build your foreign portfolio around,” said Dan Lefkovitz, analyst with Morningstar Inc. in Chicago. “However, because of its large asset size, you probably shouldn’t expect relative returns to look as good as in the past, because it can’t be as flexible as it once was.” In seeking companies he expects to provide superior earnings growth, San Francisco-based Yockey includes smaller developed markets and some emerging-market firms and is willing to build up significant stakes in individual sectors. Those moves add some risk. Assisted by 10 analysts who pay close attention to stock price, Yockey often adds nontraditional growth stocks, such as banks and insurance companies, to his holdings.

More than one-third of Artisan International’s assets are in financial services. Telecommunications and consumer goods are other concentrations. Its top holdings were recently UBS AG and Nestle of Switzerland; RWE and Allianz of Germany; Credit Saison, Mizuho Financial Group and ORIX of Japan; Kookmin Bank of South Korea; Fortum Oyj of Finland; and China Mobile of Hong Kong. go to web site bp stock price

This “no-load” (no sales charge) fund requires a $1,000 minimum initial investment. While its annual expense ratio of 1.2 percent is less than most no-load foreign large-cap funds, Lefkovitz believes it should be lower because of its significant asset growth.

Q. My grandfather inherited stock when his parents died and now wants to gift the shares to me. How does he calculate his cost basis and how do I calculate mine? – D.H., via the Internet A. Cost basis is the original value of a stock for tax purposes.

When you inherit stock, your cost basis is the fair-market value on the date of the donor’s death. So whatever the stock was worth when your grandfather inherited it is his cost basis. When you receive it as a gift, your cost basis would be the same as your grandfather’s cost basis.

“It might make more sense in terms of tax benefit to have your grandfather hold onto the stock and include it in an inheritance, instead of giving it as a gift now,” said David Bendix, a certified public accountant and certified financial planner with Bendix Financial Group in Garden City, N.Y.

That’s because your grandfather’s cost basis could be significantly lower than the fair-market value of the stock at the date of his death. In an inheritance, you’d received a “stepped-up” basis for tax purposes in which your basis is the fair-market value of the stock on the date of the donor’s death.

Andrew Leckey

Troy woman sues Bank of America: Potential class action claims bank never modified loan despite assurances go to website bac home loans

Missouri Lawyers Media January 3, 2011 | Anna Vitale A Troy woman has sued Bank of America in federal court in St. Louis claiming the bank “has systematically failed to comply” with a federal home loan modification program.

Following the implementation of TARP in 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department began the Home Affordable Modification Program. Under HAMP, qualifying home loans can be modified depending on, among other things, the borrower’s income level and hardship information. Because Bank of America accepted TARP money, it was required to identify and modify qualifying loans under HAMP, claims the suit.

The suit, filed as a potential class action on Dec. 22, claims Bank of America hasn’t done that.

“Bank of America’s general practice and culture is to string homeowners along with no intention of providing actual and permanent modifications,” states the petition. “Instead, Bank of America has put processes in place that are designed to foster delay, mislead homeowners and avoid modifying mortgage loans.” The named plaintiff, Susan Fraser, claims she has been given the run around by Bank of America since December 2008. Fraser claims she experienced a number of hardships over the last few years, beginning in 2007 when her income from her job at Enterprise Holdings dropped because of a slowdown in business. She also got divorced, and one of her five children was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Fraser claims she was told multiple times by Bank of America representatives that she qualified for loan modification under HAMP and that the modification had gone through. But, as of the date of the suit, she had not received confirmation that the modifications contract had been accepted and implemented, she claims. website bac home loans

Fraser’s attorney, Michael J. Flannery, of Carey, Danis & Lowe in St. Louis, did not respond to a reporter’s requests for comment by press time.

Fraser’s is not an isolated case, the lawsuit says. Bank of America had more than one million HAMP-eligible loans at the beginning of 2010 but to date has only begun modification proceedings on about 237,000 of them, the suit claims. Of those, only 12,761 have been permanently modified.

The suit offers an explanation for the low numbers: Bank of America reaps financial gains by not modifying loans. For example, because Bank of America services but doesn’t own many of the eligible loans, it collects a “fixed percentage of the unpaid principal balance of the loans in the pool,” claims the suit. Reducing the unpaid principal therefore diminishes what Bank of America collects.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America did not respond to a reporter’s request for comment by press time, but a press release dated Dec. 21 on Bank of America’s website states the bank completed more than 250,000 mortgage modifications in 2010, either under HAMP or nongovernmental programs.

Suits with similar allegations to the potential class action have been filed by the attorneys general of Arizona and Nevada. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has not filed a lawsuit, said spokeswoman Nanci Gonder.

The case is Susan Fraser v. Bank of America, N.A. and BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, 4:10-cv-02400-AGF.

Anna Vitale

219 Comments

  1. Pedro -  February 25, 2014 - 10:29 pm

    I grew up fully bilingual, and I can speak, read and write in both languages more proficiently than most people who only speak one. I’m no brighter than the next person, so how did this happen? At home, ONLY German (my parents’ native tongue) was spoken, meticulously avoiding “peppering” it with Spanish words. On the other hand, friends, school, the street, etc., all taught me (correct) Spanish. So, 1) I was lucky that I didn’t learn Spanish from my parents. 2) I really did learn German, fully. 3) There is only one DIFFICULT language to learn, and that is your second language. I got that for free! Knowing two languages makes it a lot easier to learn additional ones, so not only did I learn English, French and Portuguese, but I did it quite effortlessly, actually approaching it as a playful challenge, as if it were crosswords or Sudoku. “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” (Wittgenstein)

    Reply
  2. Victoria -  February 18, 2014 - 4:27 am

    I have actually been worrying about this a lot for my future kids. I am American but my parents are Brazilian. However, they didn’t teach me Portuguese well but in high school I decided to teach myself Portuguese and actually learned very easily (I think due to listening to it all of the time and being familiar with the flow and accent).
    Now I’ve immigrated to South Korea and am married to a Korean man. I plan to teach our kids English and Korean but I am trying to figure out how.
    I’ve asked many people who grew up speaking two languages at home and one thing I’ve learned is that you have to be very direct with your kids about which language you are speaking. Like, mom speaks English and dad speaks Korean and stick to it. Or, English at home and Korean outside (at the store, church, school, restaurant). That way the kids can start to separate the languages and not confuse them when they speak or when they think. Also, read with them so that they can visually see the words too.
    I hope that helps :)

    Reply
  3. James -  April 18, 2012 - 8:55 pm

    I don’t think knowing more than one language necessarily makes you more intelligent, but it definitely gives you more insight into the world around you than monolinguals, on average of course.

    Reply
  4. tom -  April 3, 2012 - 7:11 pm

    I grew up biliguial, and am currently in grade 10. I get straight A s without even trying, and seem to memorize everything the teacher says easily. Im learning my third language now, and got nearly 100% on it as my final grade. Too me, having 2 languages has huge benefits, and seems to boost my memory to an incredible extent.

    Reply
  5. yAm -  April 3, 2012 - 10:42 am

    my kid is just a yr and 7mos old, we are teaching her english and spanish and of course filipino. what the pedia told me is that learning 2languages at the same time would confuse the childs mind and so i thought that might be the reason why my child is not speaking that much (and to think 3 lang at the same time!). the weird thing is my kid already sings twinkle starz and she responds to whatever instructions we give her may it be in english or spanish or filipino. its like she knows what it means but cant express herself just yet.

    Reply
  6. Eric Ortega -  April 3, 2012 - 8:36 am

    Very interesting, I have always wondered if kids learned two or more languages, could there be more understandings among world cultures? Less hate and more love. I support bilingual classes and think expansion of them is a great idea. Knowing Spanish helped me better understand my French class (probably because of the origins of both languages) and when I listen to Portuguese, Italian music, I can understand some words. The more I learn, the more I appreciate our world. It’s very beautiful if you ask me! So I encourage everyone to take up a second, third or fourth language and experience the world in a whole new word! (I’m actually trying to learn more about my culture and have been taking some Nahuatl lessons on YouTube!)

    Reply
  7. glimbor -  April 2, 2012 - 11:29 pm

    interesting!

    Reply
  8. Angie -  April 2, 2012 - 8:59 pm

    i think that being bilingual really helps with brain development. i grew up speaking Filipino and English. at home, we always spoke a combination of both, picking and choosing from both languages to find the word that fit the best and its really helped my writing and reading skills both with decifering meaning from context and word choice because i’m accustomed to having a broad base to choose from when speaking.

    it also seems to help with making connections and conclusions in your brain because there and some words in each language that cannot be precisely translated because no other language has a word that means EXACTLY the same thing and that broader base is a good thing to draw on. it helps you be more preceptive to things, because when you don’t understand things, it’s extremely easy to just push it aside and not think about it.

    Reply
  9. n8 -  April 2, 2012 - 2:16 pm

    i’m bilingual and smart

    Reply
  10. moerumaia -  October 6, 2011 - 8:04 am

    as a Chinese,true for me,,i travelled in many countries…in stockholm,they speak strange french, i guess i build up my english with Chinese, but i build up french with both english and chinese, so when i speak english or french ,somehow, i would speak english in a french way or french in a british way.
    for the language confusing part, well, i “heard” voice”he wants to viking girls”,and then i got a room 619(sex one night) in helsinki,
    and a tag of 007 in muse du louvre after “hearing”: he is new james bond from st petersburg.
    i could even predict or see some sign which would happen in futur,,like today ,32(room NO of mental jail and many other stuff) table of 26 floor.(they “say”26 is to strasbourg). by the way i believe in God for i have to…

    Reply
  11. wannabe linguist -  August 20, 2011 - 3:30 pm

    My grandma lived in Norway 2 years after she was born there, but now in the U.S., she doesn’t really speak it anymore, but still understands some.

    It really depends on when you learn languages for how easy or hard it is, and how many you learn, and how you learn them. I take Norwegian in the summers at a camp, but I take French during the school year. I always confuse the two when I’m transitioning. I understood the Norwegian table prayer (which I learned when I was very young) when I got back from camp right away, but a couple weeks later, I wasn’t in that mindset, so I didn’t understand it the same way. I love languages, and I really wish I was multilingual from birth!!

    But I wonder, what exactly can be considered a language? Different things have structure like that, and you have to learn them in similar ways. Someone wrote that computer programming is a sort of language, and someone else suggested that musicians may gain the same skills as those who are bilingual. My French teacher, when my class found out he also taught math, said, “Math is just another language.” I’m really interested in linguistics and this stuff is really interesting.

    Reply
  12. wannabe linguist -  August 20, 2011 - 3:30 pm

    My grandma lived in Norway 2 years after she was born there, but now in the U.S., she doesn’t really speak it anymore, but still understands some.

    It really depends on when you learn languages for how easy or hard it is, and how many you learn, and how you learn them. I take Norwegian in the summers at a camp, but I take French during the school year. I always confuse the two when I’m transitioning. I understood the Norwegian table prayer (which I learned when I was very young) when I got back from camp right away, but a couple weeks later, I wasn’t in that mindset, so I didn’t understand it the same way. I love languages, and I really wish I was multilingual from birth!!

    But I wonder, what exactly is considered a language? Different things have structure like that, and you have to learn them in similar ways. Someone wrote that computer programming is a sort of language, and someone else suggested that musicians may gain the same skills as those who are bilingual. My French teacher, when my class found out he also taught math, said, “Math is just another language.” I’m really interested in linguistics and this stuff is really interesting.

    Reply
  13. dm -  July 29, 2011 - 1:10 pm

    What is interesting is how a child can dream in English or Spanish. The brain is a powerful computer. A child can also dream in English and Spanish together. In addition, I have notice my child does pay attention to nonverbal communication and is extremely good at it. This should serve her well in life since, nonverbal communication is thought to be more accurarate than verbal communication.

    Reply
  14. greatgooglymoogly -  July 28, 2011 - 5:44 pm

    Man! I wish i grew up learning my other language!

    I guess my preschool teacher was wrong when she told my mom to only talk to me in one language (english). :P

    Reply
  15. xiao_khat -  July 25, 2011 - 5:02 am

    I am a bilingual, Filipino is my L1, English is my L2, and now I am learning Mandarin Chinese as my foreign language. Being a bilingual plus knowing a foreign language is a big factor for me to find my job now. It’s not actually confusing to use two languages in a sentence, it is actually cool. Because there are some words in English that doesn’t really have an equivalent in Filipino and that’s where bilingualism makes sense.

    Reply
  16. Dreamwalker -  July 24, 2011 - 10:45 pm

    My neice is is being taught Spanish by my brother-in-law, and English by both, so she will grow up knowing 2 languages. She isn’t yet a year old, but so far she seems like an intelligent baby.
    It would be my personal opinion that language confusion and increased mental processing are both likely. It may take her a little longer to get the languages down pat, but her development everywhere else may be considerably better.

    Reply
  17. eyrene10 -  July 24, 2011 - 8:43 pm

    I am bilingual (I know english and portuguese) and since I know portuguese I can mostly understand languages like spanish and italian. It also makes spelling (in english) easier.

    Reply
  18. Chris Julien -  July 24, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    I speak English and French. I like being bilingual, I can’t imagine life any other way. I love both languages and both cultures equally. I kinda wish I was trilingual though…

    Reply
  19. Xavier -  July 24, 2011 - 6:33 am

    I used to be bilingual- That is, I quit learning my mother tounge (Chinese) since I rarely used it, and furthermore I rejected learning the language (Haha, I was one messed up kid). However, I can say my cognitive skills are probably better than if I hadn’t learnt it in the first place, even though I can hardly write in Chinese now. I still understand and can speak the language to an extent, however.

    13 Year Old here too!

    Reply
  20. MG -  July 23, 2011 - 7:14 am

    Why is getting high marks in school absolutely equated with with high intelligence and lack of high marks with lack of intelligence?
    This is not an absolute.

    Bi- and multi- ilingualism widens conceptual grasp. That’s all. It renders easier certain intellectual manipulations. Intelligence is quite another concept, a rather fuzzy one at that!

    Reply
  21. Joshii -  July 22, 2011 - 10:46 pm

    I learned a bit of Dutch when I was an infant, since I was born in Holland, but now I know primarily English. I think bits and pieces of that experience have helped me learn German and Russian fairly easily. Linguistics come naturally to me.

    Oh and by the way, I’m only 13.

    Reply
  22. TenJou -  July 22, 2011 - 10:01 pm

    I am from Malaysia, and we speak at least 2 languages sometimes more depending on the race. I am a Chinese, so I basically speak Mandarin with my mom, English with dad, Hokkien dialect + Cantonese dialect with grandma, Malay with Malay friends, and mix them all up with my friends and siblings. It is fun and I find myself constantly amused by the thoughts of those using only a particular language. They tend to be so different and sometimes, quite radical, to my surprise. I am a person who holds onto moderation. Maybe it is because I have seen a lot of idea of different language. I realised that in the end, moderation and tolerance is the key to all kinds of problems in this world. Back to the topic, I find my multilingual ability useful, they actually helped me a lot in learning new languages. I am currently studying in Japan and I can speak Japanese quite fluently and of course write in them. It took me two full years to learn them but somehow I got them, quite well I must say. I am currently learning Spanish, with Korean as my next target in mind.

    Reply
  23. Katey -  July 22, 2011 - 4:42 pm

    I guess computer programming is also another sort of language as well, though, and it’s the other thing I love. Studies between the two would be an interesting read, since I believe I found somewhere that learning to think like a programmer will help in aquiring new language skills in foreign tongues.

    Reply
  24. Katey -  July 22, 2011 - 4:37 pm

    I’m only in Highschool but I’ve been learning a second language for nearly four years and I feel like I think much differently, and not just because I’m maturing. I feel like it opens up the mind to learn other languages, as the theory goes and what I believe, that different languages go along with different way of thinking, and obviously expressing that thinking. I believe it’s helped me in the world, not just in understanding other non-English documents to get information, but to better understand people, learn about other culture and be more accepting, and even learn ideas more quickly and thoroughly. All of this is really why I want to study to become a translator. Plus, dreaming in two languages is one of the coolest things ever.

    Reply
  25. Veronica -  July 22, 2011 - 9:20 am

    I grew up speaking English but my mother always spoke to me in Spanish. My father spoke to me in English…unless he got angry. Then he would break into rapid fire Spanish! So I grew up able to understand Spanish but was poor at speaking it until I studied it in college. Afterward I ventured into speaking it with friends who were native speakers and did a lot of traveling to Spanish speaking countries. I became very fluent! I now speak two more languages fluently: Brazilian Portuguese and Italian. I continue to be an avid traveler and I seem to be able to just ‘pick up’ some phrases of the local language/dialect (when in non-Latin countries). I feel having been exposed to a second language growing up, has made me more ‘sensitive’ to the linguistic patterns that exist around me– regardless of the country I’m in. I absolutely love languages and can’t wait to learn a fifth one:-)

    Reply
  26. Marco1234 -  July 22, 2011 - 8:13 am

    My two sons grew up bilingual. When they got to speaking age, they would say something to their mother in Persian and then turn around and say something to me in English. Occasionally I would catch them saying something in English using a Persian construction and I would model the correct way to say it in English. Today one son is completely fluent in two languages, has a bachelor’s degree in a third, and can get by in three others. The other son is a computer programmer (another kind of languages). I’m not sure that bilingualism alone accounts for where they are today; they did travel more than many children and have parents who are curious about the world, watch the news, and read. But it sure didn’t hurt.

    Reply
  27. Gurlok Shazkar -  July 22, 2011 - 7:15 am

    When Sauron was destroyed and Men reclaimed Middle Earth, I was thankful to have been raised in a bilingual environment so I could continue my learning of their language. I am equally at home speaking the Black Tongue and Men’s common language. Gul’ ga zak shuncroth ipzaraa!

    Reply
  28. Marc -  July 22, 2011 - 4:54 am

    I would be interested know if there are any studies about whether a child who learns two languages as an infant has an easier time learning further languages. Anecdotally, Joseph Wechsberg reported that his daughter, who already spoke German and English, picked up a working knowledge of Italian in a few days by playing with neighborhood kids when the family moved to Italy. But he spoke many languages well enough to write brilliantly in each, so there may be some genetic predisposition to ease of language acquisition as well. Anybody know anything?

    Reply
  29. Hamachisn't -  July 21, 2011 - 11:07 pm

    One of the things they taught us in a basic psychology class in college was that if a kid grows up with two or more languages, then their brain develops a part that will then help them to learn more languages in the future. It seems to make sense; my mother, who grew up with two languages, became a language major in college and to this day she can speak quite a number of languages. I, on the other hand, grew up with English and only a tiny amount of a second language, and I can only speak a little Spanish and now I’m trying to learn Indonesian but it’s taking a lot of effort even though Indonesian is a very easy language for English-speakers.

    Reply
  30. Volkmar -  July 21, 2011 - 10:36 pm

    Having grown up trilingual from baby on, being fluent in 3 currently and learning two more having some basic understanding of about 4 others, I do believe that early exposure has influenced my love for languages. It also has created a way different way of thinking with me as wherever I go as public speaker or participant, people comment on how “otherwise” I am thinking. However, then, I ask myself, both my brother and sister having been exposed to almost identical early language exposure, have no such “weird thinking” – if the studies are true, why one out of three kids only have this influence? Is it not a combination of talent, interest AND exposure maybe? Other writers before commented that maths influence from language exposure? Yes, May be true, all three us kids turned out to be sharp with maths, compared to those around us in normal life.

    Reply
  31. Becky -  July 21, 2011 - 6:08 pm

    It works in our house. My son was exposed to 2 different languages and he mastered them both w/o any problem.

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  32. adele -  July 21, 2011 - 5:33 pm

    I grew up hearing Chinese and English…but I was only taught to speak English. I think bilingual kids really are quicker than most monolingual kids…bilingual kids and kids who play musical instruments from a young age. I have a trilingual friend…his parents speak two different languages (French and Spanish) and he grew up in America, where everybody speaks English and nobody really bothers to learn another one. He tried to learn a fourth language in fifth grade, and it was much easier for him than other kids…people who are good at languages are also better at communications and math, that’s just another thing I’ve noticed.

    Reply
  33. Hakee -  July 18, 2011 - 11:24 pm

    I am quadlingual, so to speak(English, Afrikaans(South Africa), Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese, trying to expand on French and Japanese)). I have to say that having grown up in a multilingual environment really does help a lot with perception, or an increased sensitivity and awareness towards other languages around you. It really does make a difference.

    My sense of hearing really did improve a lot over the years.

    Reply
  34. Ashleigh -  June 24, 2011 - 9:28 pm

    I am bilingual (Chinese/English) and I actually do agree that learning two different languages changes your perception on things – lets your brain THINK more, if that would be the right word to use it with. I’ve recently started learning Spanish and Korean, and that definitely has influenced how I think of English, because previously I had no idea there were so many things that were similar between Spanish and English.

    That said, not everyone in my honors class speaks two languages, but about 75% do, and the rest play some sort of instrument, so I think that, to some extent, has an effect on “brain power” as well.

    Reply
  35. maglor -  May 27, 2011 - 8:04 am

    I am myself bilingual english+spanish as was brought up with spanish mother in england. I often ask myself whether being bilingual has had any advantage rather than being misunderstood most of the time by monolinguals when the subject of language acquisition comes up. That for me is very frustrating and you can only argue coherently if you are bilingual and most of the time i’m surrounded by monolinguals. As far as enhanced cognitive development, knowing 2 languages obviously helps with language skills, not too sure about science or maths though!

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  36. Sir Mike Tallon, PhD -  April 28, 2011 - 5:44 am

    I don’t know that I agree language has an influence over the type of thoughts you have, but I do know that once I learned French and Spanish, it COMPLETELY changed the way I spoke English, and the way I looked at words and language in general. Linguistically, it makes the world a whole lot clearer.

    Reply
  37. Kyle -  April 26, 2011 - 1:33 pm

    “Bilingual infants”. Funny term considering the root of “infant” means “speechless”!

    Reply
  38. Lorax -  April 21, 2011 - 9:40 am

    Man, I wish I were bilingual. Those of you who are should thank your parents. ;)

    Reply
  39. Bobby -  April 17, 2011 - 10:25 am

    the opposite of deja vu

    Reply
  40. Peter O'Connor -  April 17, 2011 - 5:50 am

    As a bilingual I believe the study is correct. It develops both sides of the brain – together. Both is best.

    Reply
  41. Elishamod -  April 15, 2011 - 1:17 am

    I am bilingual. My parents came to Israel from the USSR before my birth, so I learned Hebrew and Russian. Though my Russian is not perfect, because I only use it at home, my Hebrew is perfect and I learned two more languages facilely – English and Esperanto.

    Reply
  42. Anne -  April 14, 2011 - 8:33 pm

    Am 2nd generation American. Dad spoke perfect English, but mom spoke more Spanish. I can remember all of us siblings riding in the car and mom pronouncing ‘ch’ as ‘sh’; ALL of us kids correcting the pronunciation, LOL. Being the 1st Hispanics in the neighbourhood, English was my 1st language; understanding mom was a little difficult. She had these magazines called ‘novelas’ (soap operas by todays standards). They were in comic magazine format and it was how I learned to understand the Spanish language. More importantly, it was how I learned to read and write Spanish. I was only 3 or 4 yrs old and to this day, some 40 yrs later, have never taken a Spanish class. Yet, it’s much easier for me to read and understand Spanish, than it is to carry on a conversation in Spanish. And yes, for some odd reason, I tend to disect words.

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  43. Lando Calrissian -  April 14, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    Shouldn’t it be “unilingual,” not “monolingual?”

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  44. Mr. D [A.K.A] Elysian -  April 14, 2011 - 11:02 am

    No reason to grow up learning more then one, i’ll only ever need english.

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  45. Roman -  April 14, 2011 - 3:26 am

    Great, me too, i was grown up in a mutlilingual family and I am much more clever than my friends and colleague.

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  46. Luck in W -  April 13, 2011 - 11:03 pm

    I did not learn two languages from birth, but after my mother tongue I learned English from the age of 7. After that, it was not difficult to learn other languages: French, Latin, Russian, Spanish–though I did not learn the latter 3 as long as the other 3 and do not speak them as fluently.

    One thing that was easier to learn were concepts in grammar, e.g., subjective, accusative, genitive cases of nouns and pronouns (used in German, Latin and Russian.) One thing I never quite managed to pronounce correctly was the “r” sound in Spanish, Russian and, to a lesser degree, French. I just could not manage to utter a rolling “r”.

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  47. Ravenesque -  April 13, 2011 - 9:34 pm

    Well, going with what so many other people said here, I believe that being multilingual doesn’t necessarily make you smarter, but I do believe that once you’re fluent in more than one language, learning other languages is easier.

    That having been said, I was raised knowing only English, and didn’t learn any other languages until high school. Although I was at the top of my class in most subjects (even in Spanish), I still can’t speak any other language fluently. No matter how much I might understand sentence structure and vocabulary and whatnot, I feel that something is blocking me from being able to communicate in other languages without stumbling. In college I studied Japanese for over a year, but when I took a trip to Japan, I couldn’t do much more than order something from a restaurant in that language, and I could only pick up a few random words of what people were saying.

    But in a way, being fluent in only one language is sort of a blessing. I have no confusion on which language to use when expressing my thoughts. And with a lack of fluency in other languages, I get to focus much more on my fluency in English, which really helps me with my writing. I suppose it’s a good idea for people to have one language that they’re the “best” at, even if they are multilingual.

    Yes, reading this article did make me a little jealous of the multilingual people in the world, but the truth is that nobody can control their past… the most we can do is work with what we have and make the most of it.

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  48. Wiktoria -  April 13, 2011 - 8:23 pm

    I grew up learning Polish at home and then I had to learn English for elementary school and I would of spoke English at school and Polish at home. Then in middle school I learned Spanish, and now in high school I am continuing learning Spanish but I am also learning German. I am even asking my mother to try to teach me Russian and I am asking some friends to teach me some Japanese. So I think that being Bilingual as a child can be helpful and might encourage people to learn more language because I have another friend similar to me and she thinks the same.

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  49. Whitebird -  April 13, 2011 - 7:39 pm

    I grew up speaking English and Japanese, and now I’m learning Spanish. I’m in high school and I see my peers saying “What?” or “That doesn’t make sense” etc etc, but I understand that languages can’t be directly compared grammatically to one another. I can say for sure that growing up in a bilingual environment helps learn a third language. Japanese has helped my Spanish pronunciation for sure!

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  50. Dangles -  April 13, 2011 - 7:33 pm

    Je parle two languages et je n’ai jamais got mixed up ou s’embrouiller.

    Haha, just kidding.

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  51. Christina -  April 13, 2011 - 7:29 pm

    As a bilingual (with a third language – lower level), a former elementary teacher and “student” of this field, my personal belief is that there is some language confusion that is present during the younger years (elementary) that seem to get worked out in adolescence. Code-switching is only one of several factors that are involved in the confusion. In later years, however, it translates to better cognitive skills and problem solving. As for perception, that could be, although mine wasn’t quite the same experience as described in this article. My children’s are not as developed in perception at their ages, although my daughter is reading earlier and doing math above her age level; so, cognitively she is quite advanced, I would say. Just my opinion.

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  52. Khadooj_Arab -  April 13, 2011 - 7:22 pm

    bieng bilingual and speaking both english and arabic has really helped me in life and can really assist me in the future. I am currently trying to become trilingual with french. But because the two languages that I speak are different, I rarely get confused

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  53. penny -  April 13, 2011 - 7:12 pm

    I am trilingual speak English, Tamil, and French fluently. I grew up learning all three languages growing up. I say that once you have learned 2 languages learning a third one is easier, thus making you sharper.

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  54. rock'n'roll,baby -  April 13, 2011 - 7:10 pm

    oh and also – i think this point was already made, but still – i’m in the talented/honors program, and most of the kids in my class speak at least two languages.

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  55. rock'n'roll,baby -  April 13, 2011 - 7:00 pm

    and yeah i don’t know how related my iq is to the amount of languages i speak, but its high. i do love reading and i’m smart and have great grades and all, but i don’t do much homework or studying. all the languages didn’t exactly turn me into a geek :P (hence the name ;P )

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  56. rock'n'roll,baby -  April 13, 2011 - 6:56 pm

    well, i think being fluent in more than one language is definitely a good thing. it stimulates your brain. i’m 15 now, and my first language is croatian, but my best childhood friend only spoke english when we met, so i was fluent by the time i turned 5. i learned traditional greek and latin in school, and i’m pretty fluent. i’m currently taking german and french (2nd year german and 1st year french) and it’s incredibly easy, i understand it so much better because of all the other languages i know. i even understand an australian aboriginal language without too much difficulty. so yeah, although we only spoke one language in my family, i learned english fluently at a young age, and it helps.

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  57. Gy. J. -  April 13, 2011 - 6:43 pm

    Our kids (3 boys) grew up in a multi language house. Learned three languages since they were born. Now they are 26, 24, & 22 and have no problem going around the world or using their languages at work. They have no problem of understanding or communicating in those languages. Some friends told us not to teach them in other languages. I am glad we did. In Switzerland kids thought in for languages.

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  58. Jumman Surender -  April 13, 2011 - 6:04 pm

    I agree with that. Vigorous mental training from the very beginning – in childhood – can lead to this sort of “intellectual” level. Brain can be tamed or left free to do whatever we want it to do.

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  59. melina -  April 13, 2011 - 5:57 pm

    My first language was Spanish ,but the year before kindergarten, my dad decided to teach me how to speak English. He only spoke to me in English ,and made me watch shows in English ,which wasn’t hard because I watched cartoons all day. It worked by the beginning of kindergarten I spoke English fluently. I didn’t struggle at all in school ,on the contrary,I was always at the top of my class.

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  60. Summertime in Japan -  April 13, 2011 - 5:55 pm

    I can speak English and German. At present I am living in Japan and studying Japanese of which I can originate a plethora of simple sentences. But those sentences are ones that I have invented on my own, and they mean a lot to me, because they express how I see the world. I know how to recite some poems I’ve written in Japanese, but I can barely count to ten. Keep that in mind if you read the following.

    I think the first thing you have to take into consideration is what you exactly you mean by smart. I know this remark is kind of cliche so I apologize. Let me just say this: I know people who can speak two languages, but they aren’t really full of life-changing insight, regardless of the tongue they choose to use. I grew up with a Dominican girl who could speak Spanish and English fluently, but she became anorexic and drug-addicted. I dated a Chinese-American, fluent in both Chinese & American, but she couldn’t think for herself and probably won’t ever use her bilingual ability to produce mysterious work or strikingly inventive art (not to bad-mouth her, since she’s a lovely woman).

    There are plenty of people I know who can speak two languages and aren’t especially philosophical or self-assured and therefore I wouldn’t deem them smarter than anyone else. On the contrary I would be willing to agree that they have an upper hand when it comes to things like writing and poetry and understanding difficult concepts, if they know how to do it right. But they haven’t changed my life. They’ve rarely ever said anything to me that blew me away, or that manifested an intense contemplation of the universe. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. It doesn’t matter what language it’s in if it’s an inspiring sentence then it is one. Nothing more, nothing less…

    Furthermore I believe that claiming someone is smarter because they can speak two languages is like saying that someone is a better musician because they can play two instruments. If Coltrane picked up a guitar he’d probably suck at it initially and no one’s blaming him because when he plays the sax it’s like heaven on earth. I wonder if F. Scott Fitzgerald spoke any other languages. Probably. But you know what? I don’t give a damn, because his books in English are unfathomably eloquent.

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  61. Francine Brody -  April 13, 2011 - 5:19 pm

    My son is bilingual and I was told it could inhibit his language skills. But he is under two and a half and speaks better English than any other child his age I have come across. He doesn’t actually speak much Italian but does understand it. I think it definitely encourages perception and cognitive skills.

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  62. Erik -  April 13, 2011 - 5:05 pm

    I definately think that multilingual people have an advantage over other people. They can visit countries and, in Canada, they can get government jobs. I am bilingual and it helps me realize that this is just another way to connect with other people around the world, and is therefore definately helpful.

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  63. peter -  April 13, 2011 - 4:59 pm

    i had the same problem as Elizabeth i was in a behavior disorder class and have in fact suffered from knowing polish and English in fact my spelling and grammar is so low that im hopeless without spell check but at least now i know what it was and im out of the class now im free

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  64. Simon -  April 13, 2011 - 4:45 pm

    My spouse was born to deaf parents (one of them an immigrant) but he’s not deaf. So he grew up speaking ASL to his parents, English in school and Spanish to his grandmother. As an adult he’s remarkably good with math, has great memory and has been able to fluently learn 3 other languages.

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  65. Nectar -  April 13, 2011 - 4:19 pm

    When I was little I was bilingual (lived in Puerto Rico), I think I learned spanish first, but then I forgot it when we moved. I think it helped in spanish class, I picked it up faster than other people and I sometimes think partially in spanish and speak spanglish occasionally.

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  66. Elizabeth -  April 13, 2011 - 4:14 pm

    I have learned 2 languages and im in a gifted program. 90% of my class is bilingual

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  67. Paula H -  April 13, 2011 - 4:03 pm

    I see two gaping holes in the article.
    1. Whorf’s hypothesis is an interesting topic of conversation and it seems logical at first glance, but it’s generally discounted among most (though not all) linguistics professionals, except in the most concrete cases (e.g. color recognition). Consider. Do Spanish speakers really consider la casa (house) to be more ‘feminine’ than el edificio (building)?

    2. I believe that experiences in typical American classrooms can’t tell us much about the advantages or disadvantages of bilingualism from the cradle because there are too many other factors involved. An Asian-American is often raised in an environment with tremendous pressure for academic success. A Latino is often raised by parents with the most minimal education who came to the US so their children could get the education they never had access to. The high achievement of one and low achievement of the other are not based on bilingualism but the educational environment of the child’s home.

    I suspect a better test would be Europe. I suspect (but I’m not certain) that in certain parts of Europe, virtually everyone is trilingual from birth, while in other parts the people speak only the national language. In such populations you could compare apples to apples instead of tangerines to mangoes.

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  68. FrodoSam -  April 13, 2011 - 3:47 pm

    I wish my parents had started talking to me in Polish when I was young. It is so hard to learn a second language later in life!

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  69. C.R. Williams -  April 13, 2011 - 3:40 pm

    Also, the younger one begins learning languages – the better! I’ve been told our aptitude for linguistics (naturally-speaking) peaks at the age of 7. It becomes much harder the longer you wait.

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  70. C.R. Williams -  April 13, 2011 - 3:35 pm

    I think another benefit of knowing more than one language well is its psychological boost: the world – geographically and culturally – seems a much less ‘foreign’, more accessible place…

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  71. ali -  April 13, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    I grew up bilingual when i was a baby and now my sister who is 5 is learning her third language! :)

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  72. Dolan -  April 13, 2011 - 3:22 pm

    My cousins grew up in Quebec Canada. Their mom only spoke to them in English and their father only spoke to them in French. They in return only spoke to each parent in the corresponding language. They were also living in a french speaking community, but often visiting us here in the states. They have turned out to be very bright, bilingual people. When they were young they were never confused and completely knew the difference between the two languages. Frankly I’m jealous and think it’s a great idea. They have such an advantage.

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  73. Sandra -  April 13, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    So I’m bilingual, my parents have always talked to my sibling and I in spanish. For me being bilingual is a great advantage. In school, you have to take a class where you learn to speak another language. Since I’m in the Gifted Program they already choose our classes. The class we have to take is spanish. Not that spanish is the only helpful language, all languages are helpful for a developing mind. I have to study word stems, and words like mundo, spanish word for world helps me remember mundu stem for world. But it also depends on the person who is bilingual. My cousin is also bilingual, but his words aren’t spoken clearly in English nor in spanish.

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  74. eu -  April 13, 2011 - 3:04 pm

    “The sooner a child is exposed to more than one language, the better. In non-English speaking Europe, by the time a child is 18, he/she is fluently bi-lingual, and conversational in at least a 3rd or 4th language; one of those would be English.”

    Really? Where?

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  75. Atchana -  April 13, 2011 - 2:49 pm

    I do believe that speaking or knowing multiple languages increases brainpower. I use 3 different languages(Tamil, Hindi, English) in my daily life and in addition to it can comprehend 2 other languages(Telugu, Malayalam) and a bit of French. The thinking and multitasking quality increases. People find it interesting and with respect to growth @ work or personal it has always been a boon.. It has helped me understand and connect with different cultures and people.. I find that people who are multi or bilingual are more stronger and approachable with challenges :) I suppose! ;)

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  76. belinda -  April 13, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    of coures THEY DO BECAUSE I AM ONE OF THEM

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  77. Enia Yuna -  April 13, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    I am from Inda, I know Hebrew and Hindu, as well as English, and I love it! Though I had to learn a the launguage after my childhood was older. It would have been much easier if I had learned right away.

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  78. Christian -  April 13, 2011 - 2:37 pm

    I grew up speaking Spanish and English. I don’t confuse English, but sometimes when I speak Spanish, I forget what word I want to say, so I take the English word, and make it sound as Spanish as possible.

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  79. Lilly Saunders -  April 13, 2011 - 2:28 pm

    I am learning French, and I love the launguage. I wish I learned it as a child, as it would have been much easier!

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  80. Kate -  April 13, 2011 - 2:13 pm

    I agree with the article. Having been brought up learning both Finnish and English and now studying French and Spanish in school i feel i am able to pick up both faster than some of the other kids. (i am 15 now).
    Incredibly happy that my mum taught me both as i’m fluent in each and find it a very useful skill.

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  81. Jose -  April 13, 2011 - 2:09 pm

    A couple of typos up there… two* and languages*

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  82. Jose -  April 13, 2011 - 2:06 pm

    It makes perfect sense that a baby learning to languages or more would be cognitively advantaged. A child influenced and surrounded by two languages would be forced to process huge amounts of information considering that languages are very complex and sophisticated, grammatically speaking. I learned to language when I was really little, in fact I don’t ever remember knowing less than the two. I do notice that I tend to be very keen on interpreting data and information, be it in a book, or through something as simple as oral communication. I’m extremely introspective and seem to over analyze everything! It’s a blessing and a curse!

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  83. Anonymous -  April 13, 2011 - 1:52 pm

    I myself am bilingual, and I find it quite useful. I only ever mix my two languages when I feel that an appropriate word doesn’t exist in one and use the word from the other, and even then I only do that around people who speak both languages.

    I have been to various international schools, and I’ve noticed that the American children tend to be a little slower than others, particularly in regard to languages – no offence meant to anyone, it’s probably just luck.

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  84. Roger_In_SF -  April 13, 2011 - 1:47 pm

    The sooner a child is exposed to more than one language, the better. In non-English speaking Europe, by the time a child is 18, he/she is fluently bi-lingual, and conversational in at least a 3rd or 4th language; one of those would be English.

    Also, it is best to get a child to speak a 2nd language the sooner the better, because by the time they reach 9½ to 10, they become analytical, in that they finally “grasp” that they are learning. When a child is young, “knowing” is a “gift,” but “learning” becomes a “challenge,” and all children are not born or even reared challenge-takers. When children are under 9 years of age, they’ll “pick up” and repeat anything you tell them; they’re very trusting that way. However, once a child approaches 10, they become analytical (stubborn) and will respond with:

    “What do you want me to say?” … or
    “How do you pronounce it again?”… or
    “Does it really mean *that*?”… or
    “It’s not a bad word, is it?”…

    Both of my parents were born in the USA, but reared in Mexico. When their respective families returned, we were brought up speaking Spanish in the home, but then were taught exclusively in English in school. By the time we selected a 2nd language in high-school and later in college (Spanish, natuarlly), the phonetic Spanish that we spoke, and the little that we could read, all fell into place, and it helped us to learn to read and write in Spanish, as well as learn to speak it properly (knowing where one word ended and the other began).

    Long story/short (if it’s not too late), if you do not speak a 2nd language in your home, have your children learn one soon. One good direction in which to point them, is to look for a non-traditionally English-speaking culture in your town, and have them learn that one. It will likely come in handy when having to deal directly in certain issues with the elders in that community.

    Good luck people…

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  85. im in ninth grade! yay... -  April 13, 2011 - 1:28 pm

    i grew up in a bilingual home. my mom speakes english and my grammpa is deaf. so i know english and sign language. and i speak a bit of french and a bit of spanish. even a tid bit of italian. i think my brain power is quite powerfull.

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  86. Pablo -  April 13, 2011 - 1:26 pm

    I do believe that knowing multiple languages increases brainpower. When my little sister was growing up, she was barely three and she knew English and Spanish. When she was little, she could read an eigth grade book and tell me all about it when she’s done reading it!

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  87. AA -  April 13, 2011 - 1:19 pm

    I am bilingual, speaking both Arabic and English from childhood and hopefully learning two more languages. I agree with both sides of this article :)

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  88. Suzieque -  April 13, 2011 - 1:19 pm

    Whorf’s linguistic studies led to the principles of the Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity – a belief that speakers of different languages learn, think, and act differently depending on the language they speak and write. From Whorf’s findings, one may conclude that a child who engages in code-switching – the use of two or more languages in everday interactions – will develop language confusion.

    I draw a different conclusion. From Whorf’s findings, I conclude that a child who learns to use two or more languages is exposed to varied ways of thinking, learning, and acting. Such a child will be open to different ideas. S/he will not think there is only “one way.”

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  89. DK -  April 13, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    Many of you — especially people who said something like “I or someone I know grew up multilingual in country X, and it worked out well” — seem to have missed the point of the article. The findings in question are not addressing the effect of bilingual education on the intelligence of adults or even adolescents; it is about babies and language confusion before anything. So your feedback are only indirectly meaningful if at all.

    That being said, I am not sure if either of these studies was comprehensive enough to prove the other wrong. To do that, they would have had to track babies through a significant portion of their upbringing to determine any coherent pattern that can be tied back to the language exposure/education at the infant stage, instead of observing some behavioral differences between the monolingual group and bilingual group. I somehow doubt this, as it is very difficult to have a good control over such a study.

    My gut feeling is that, from the growth perspective, there is more to be gained than lost from a multilingual raising of babies, since it keeps their rapidly developing brains “soak up” more varieties that the world has to offer. This should not necessarily lead to higher intelligence or precociousness, however, as I have known many of multilingual childhood who could not speak one language proficiently or at least better than I did… and no, I did not grow up bilingual per se (though I did learn the alphabet of English before I learned that of my native language).

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  90. Monica -  April 13, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    I am trilingual and was raised bilingual. It has helped me in numerous ways and I excel in both languages. On the other hand, my sister was also raised bilingual and experiences language confusion.

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  91. Marc -  April 13, 2011 - 1:05 pm

    As a french born Canadian who also speaks english 100% fluently with no accent, I find that in everyday activities and overall thought processing there is little more I can do than my monolingual friends.

    However, I have found that the major advantage in bi/multilingualism is in actually learning more languages. Over the past few years I have picked up spanish at about a 75% fluency rate and mandarin Chinese at about 35%. The biggest help is that I am not simply accustomed to one type of sentance structure, gramar and most importantly, pronunciations, tone, and emphasis. Something at natural to me as rolling Rs and the french pronunciation of the letter U are some of the major difficulties that I see in even imersion students. I don’t know if this holds true if I had started out speaking italian and russian and tried to learn portugese. But the fact that french and english are practically polar opposites in most gramatical senses has been an asset in learning.

    I would disagree that it makes me “smarter” than monolinguals, it just makes me (personally) better equiped to learn more languages. Same as the tall person being better suited to basketball than the short one, this makes neither smarter. In an age where the service industry is where most jobs are however, one can not disregard the benefits of bi/multilingualism.

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  92. :D -  April 13, 2011 - 1:04 pm

    Hey, I have grown up as a bilingual kid. I am 100% Asian but born and raised (still living) in Europe. I was supposed to be able to speak 3 languages since birth, but when I was born in Russia, my parents only let me stay there for 3 months, and moved to another country in Europe. I can fluently speak up to 3 languages now, although I know that I really could have done more D: I know small portions of Spanish, Arabic, French, etc. (mostly from friends, but I took French in school)

    It does help you with the vocabulary, sometimes you can relate a word to the same word in another language, and that helps you a lot.

    My dad can speak 5 languages, nearly fluently (he knows the words and the meanings but the pronunciations are not 100% correct, but yeah :P He’s awesome for an Asian parent!)

    I’m willing to learn more languages though… I’m just 15 btw :D

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  93. Julia -  April 13, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    I know 2 languages and lerning French and Latin its really helpful to know so much expecially at such a young age!

    :)I love learning languages

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  94. Jung Jae-Hwa -  April 13, 2011 - 12:54 pm

    Nice!!

    I grew up speaking both English and Korean, and now I’m learning Chinese, Thai, Tagalog, and Japanese.

    It really isn’t that hard and I find it better to be able to speak more than one language.

    It’s great especially for job-seeking as well!!

    Anyways, growing up speaking two languages really has helped me throughout my life and I thank my parents for it.

    여러분 모두에게 행운을 빈다.. 살아있어 건강 수!

    안녕! さようなら! 再见!

    -Jung Jae-Hwa

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  95. Francis -  April 13, 2011 - 12:33 pm

    I am monolingual and currently learning spanish. Please stop making other monolinguals feel so inferior! :(

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  96. Moss Posner, M.D. -  April 13, 2011 - 12:31 pm

    the experience of the university of Lex in Japan shows how multiple languages prepare us for learning even more languages. and these folks are all adults. this just strengthens the case for multiple languages.

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  97. Agkcrbs -  April 13, 2011 - 12:17 pm

    I think Whorf’s ideas were correct to a point, and plausible to a further point. Not EVERYTHING is shapen by how a language treats things, but it’s obvious that some concepts and processes are handled differently on at least a superficial level. Notions of colour and countability would be quick examples. Then again, such processes are often mutable, given time in new environments.

    In my view, to leap from that observation to the idea of ‘language confusion’ as an actual kind of cognitive dissonance in bilingual infants is to leap backward, and is more of an anecdotal theory than a rigorous one. I wonder which scholars’ postulations are being referred to in this article. It’s true that bilingualism may seem to correlate with an impairment of certain skills in some young students, but that’s because they’re not bilingual in the first place, but are still struggling with their second language. An educational obstacle related to a delay in first-language instruction is not the same thing as a cognitive deficit from having two languages, which instead shows every likelihood of offering a cognitive advantage.

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  98. Bonsai -  April 13, 2011 - 12:06 pm

    Learning more than one language has shown me how different and similar the world is at the same time.

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  99. Julio Borgono -  April 13, 2011 - 11:57 am

    The ability to engage in multilingualism is a great cognitive tool to understant and appreciate other people’s culture.

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  100. Rupesh Ravi -  April 13, 2011 - 11:45 am

    I believe that knowing more than one language helps.
    I live in India where every province has its own language and apart from that we have national language and English.
    I grew up learning 4 languages, Growing up learning 3-4 Languages is very common in India.
    {(Mother tongue, Hindi and English i.e if you are not living in a province where the local language is Hindi) (Mother tongue, Provincial Language, Hindi and English if your parents are from Province A and you live in Province B) (Schools in India teach three languages from starting)}

    I believe that this has helped me understand the world better. More better are you on languages you find it more easy to accept the world with diversities because you are exposed to the same right from the beginning.

    But having said that I would also throw light to the fact that students who started learning a second language at a later age most of them have a problem conversing because they tend to form sentences in their first language and then translate to other language. With difference in Grammar they end up messing up the whole idea which they started off with.

    And on the other hand kids who started of with multiple languages at the beginning don’t have that trouble, because they start in the intended language.

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  101. Jon -  April 13, 2011 - 11:42 am

    I can see where knowing more than one language helps improve cognitive development. The brain activity exhibited during the learning process of one single language is great so I can see where more than one would push greater development. There three main types of development, physical, cognitive and social; language encompasses cognitive and social. The brain will also need to learn to quickly decipher language to deduce what kind is being used, leading to quicker thinking and multitasking. Aside from the future capability to have the mind able to quickly adapt to language, this adaptation can be used elsewhere. I’m Hispanic and my spouse is Korean. Being in the United States I feel it is important to know English, and to know it well. My children will learn English, Spanish and Korean. I also want them to learn Chinese as I feel the language will eventually have a more dominant role in the global economy.

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  102. Jo -  April 13, 2011 - 11:40 am

    I have lived in Mexico for a year and a half and speak a lot of Spanish. The thirteen years before that I live in the U.S. I find that being bilingual comes in handy alot and, although I sometime get mixed up and change the way I phrase things I like being able to speak to languages. I have found I can even use what I know to learn Latin roots more easily.

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  103. Viv~ -  April 13, 2011 - 11:29 am

    I oftentimes wondered how this worked in regards to children with autism–growing up in a bilingual/trilingual/ etc. household. Supposedly they “think in pictures.” But I have also heard they learn to spell and read/write in a gestalt fashion, hence their “echoes” often found as a common ‘symptom’ of autism.

    I think about this all of the time because I wonder if my son [who has autism] can speak another language/understand it; from his father’s side of the family…. I wouldn’t know, or recognize it if i had heard it! [he is three...]

    interesting!

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  104. Linda -  April 13, 2011 - 10:51 am

    Bubblegum — Point well taken…
    I believe what the main point here is to say that someone who knows another language(s) besides English has the awareness of that, to think and speak in another language. The knowledge that one has acquired through their own experience is just that, additional knowledge. I don’t believe that it has anything to do with your depth of learning, understanding and presentation. Ultimately, I think that its people’s manner and personality that trumps any amount of learning, information, knowledge or languages that one might know.

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  105. Mtn Dew girl -  April 13, 2011 - 10:45 am

    My step mother is filipino and she can speak 27 different languages. Even though it is amazing to hear her speak different languages it is also very confusing. I can bearly understand her english because she also speaks english and sometimes puts it with other languages.

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  106. coldbear -  April 13, 2011 - 10:34 am

    Sounds like hogwash to me. But I’ve observed that anyone who is taught to think at an earlier age – be it through multible languages, early tutoring of math or any other subject, music, or even just reading to the child from an early age – will improve a child’s chances. That has been proven.

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  107. bubblegum -  April 13, 2011 - 10:10 am

    I thought I would comment here, because I have a slight disagreement to this article, assuming that all those who are bilingual do well in school. I only speak English, was raised in a one language home, and am studying other lanagues in High School, one as a class and few others by myself. Although lanaguages are my forte, I don’t believe just being bilinugal impacts you that greatly. A large amount of those who are failing, are “super seniors” (or who are going to be) or who just don’t do their work at my school, are those who speak more than one langauge. I may only speak English, but I consider myself intelligent,(not to be arrogant) I’m taking two honors classes this year, and I have signed up for AP classes in the future. I’m taking Japanese as a class, and teaching myself Spanish and French at home, although my family only speaks English. I have a 3.3 GPA, and I also manage to have time for myself and my friends. My point is that even though these studies show these great impacts, it does not mean they will do better in school than those who speak only English, or a different langauge.

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  108. Sugar Land Mom -  April 13, 2011 - 9:58 am

    Most respondents are bilingual in English and Romance, Asian or Middle Eastern languages. Anyone bilingual in Russian and a second language? I once taught two Russian pre-schoolers who would not speak at school which was so different from the Spanish-speaking children who quickly began picking up English. Concerned, I asked their mom who told me that the Russian language is so complex and difficult to learn that Russian children often do not begin to master their own language until they begin school and begin formal study of the language. Would be interested to hear from any whose first language is Russian and their experience at being exposed to another language early on.

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  109. Aoi -  April 13, 2011 - 9:57 am

    I’m a student at UBC and I just took a course on Psychology of Language. My professor works with Janet Werker in the research lab, which is why I was so surprised when I saw this article here. From the cognitive perspective, it seems that the same areas in the brain are activated for the first and second language, which led to my conjecture (in my final paper) that learning a third language would be easier for bilinguals because the “brain areas” have learned to accommodate the learning of multiple languages. As a bilingual myself, I found myself using my two languages to learn French and Spanish. Although I haven’t read any studies on this yet, much of the research findings, this one as well, seems to support this.

    Also, research findings have found that individuals who speak more languages are less culturally bias. It seems that exposure to many languages enhances your perspective on the world! I would definitely agree that the benefits of bilingualism outweigh the problems, if there are any :)

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  110. Stefan -  April 13, 2011 - 9:39 am

    I was bilingual as a kid and still am, speaking English and Spanish, and I find it emensly helpful being able to speak two languages. Right now I’m 16 and I feel, and this is confirmed by my peers and parents, that I am much more perceptive than most. Having to think about the different sounds of the different languages, I have to pay more attention to the fluctuations of the languages and so I am better at detecting moods. Being forced to be perceptive while speaking to different people I have become more perceptive and attentive. I have had no problems with “language confusion”.

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  111. hksche2000 -  April 13, 2011 - 9:38 am

    Kelvin, you must be from Sumatra. Best of luck with speaking so many interesting languages and speaking them obviously well.

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  112. michael -  April 13, 2011 - 9:36 am

    Even though Whorf suggested the influence that language has on our thinking, he referred to the “habits” that a particular language imposes upon us in its categorization of the world. There is nothing in Whorf’s theory that suggests that learning or knowing more than one language leads to any type of mental confusion.

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  113. Kesiena Okorho -  April 13, 2011 - 9:33 am

    Over 40% of African children grow up learning a minimum of two languages (their mother tongue and an international language, English or French). The more languages they can speak the more confident they feel especially when they interact with people from another lingua. This is heightened by the fact that most words in one language derive their origin from some another language and a knowledge of both helps in better understanding.

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  114. Linda -  April 13, 2011 - 9:31 am

    Manny HM has made a great point. I have spoken to people of Spanish decent who were born in the US and when they attended Elementary school in the ’30′s/’40′s and they were told not to speak Spanish. I’m referring to someone who speaks Spanish in addition to English and has spoken Spanish intermittently in a specific situation. If a youngster is made to feel as though his ethnic language is somehow not worthy or wrong, he will be made to feel as though he somehow negative, thus sending a message of a negative sense of self. I realize that the situation has it’s root beginning from the originating country not caring for the welfare of their own citizens. So, the saga begins and the innocent pay the price. Reminds me of a Spanish refrain: Candil de la calle, oscuridad en mi casa: TRANS: Lantern that illuminates the outside, darkness in my own home….

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  115. Darvin -  April 13, 2011 - 9:30 am

    I speak english, Yo hablo espanol, J’e parle le francois.

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  116. satish kumar -  April 13, 2011 - 9:19 am

    i am from india..i grow up learning punjabi as well as hindi and also english..it means 3 languages at same time..i believe on this earth almost everybody is bilingual..one is mother toungue and second is english..so being smart is nt coz of learning 2 languages or 3 three languages..i dnt agree with it…its worthless..

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  117. David -  April 13, 2011 - 9:17 am

    I grew up monolingual, but I have sinced learned Spanish through school and travel and I am raising my kids bilingual; I speak to them exclusively in Spanish and just about everyone else speaks to them in English. Their English is much stronger and they both excel in school, but their Spanish is conversational without ever being exposed to any formal instruction and my oldest (8) can read both English and Spanish at her grade level. My youngest (6) is following in her footsteps and he is right where she was two years ago. The only confusion they have is in grammatical structures. If I say, “Me gusta,” “it is pleasing to me” they might respond with, “Yo también,” “I (am pleasing to you) too” instead of “A mí también,” “(It is pleasing)to me too.” What they are trying to say is that they acknowledge that I am saying that “I like it” and they want to tell me that they too like it. These kinks work themselves out with consistent exposure to both languages.

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  118. Replaced By Grace -  April 13, 2011 - 8:56 am

    I grew hup le-hernin twoo difrant languages, ear me. On de wan side me mudda dere, she teach me ow to tark in me propa Hinglish but me papa dere mek sure dat im teach me fi know Jameerkan Patwa! Hi know now dat hi ham blessed cuz when me wan fi change ow me tark, I just do it quick as a flash and what do you know, I’m back into good old regular upstanding English. Marvellous!

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  119. Kelvin -  April 13, 2011 - 8:38 am

    The first language I was exposed and taught to was a Chinese dialect as my primary caretakers were my grandparents. My mother would speak to me in English and my other relatives who lived with us would speak to me in Mandarin. I was hence exposed to 3 different languages at the same time in my formative years.
    There was no confusion in differentiating the 2 languages when I was a child and it actually helped in my appreciation of these 2 distinctly different languages and cultures behind them.
    Looking back, I don’t believe my multiple exposure was a bad thing. Till now, without sounding too proud, I am able to effectively converse in these 2 languages and dialect. This ability has also helped me to converse with generations apart from my own. I am also learning a third language, Bahasa Melayu, which is my national language.

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  120. hksche2000 -  April 13, 2011 - 8:36 am

    Controlled, age-matched identical twin studies would be the best, and perhaps the only, way to study the effect of multi- vs mono-lingualism on brain development, but I’m not aware of any such study. Anecdotal experiences, no matter how many, unfortunately remain just that, anecdotes.

    Most of the above blogs by multilingual speakers do not appear to reflect superior language skills in English, consistent with previous experience. I agree with CHIEF (v.s.) “that Americans are not taught the mechanics or the grammar of our own language…”. Case in point, Mr. RICHFIELD (v.s.) writes: “I have been teaching K-12 students for more than 20 years. Based on my experience, … Asian students … learn quicker” (instead of “more quickly”).

    Language, one of the most distinguishing features that set homo sapiens apart in the animal kingdom, seems to be on the way out. Not only is it hardly taught any more correctly, but it is openly belittled, even demeaned by those who don’t know how to speak/write properly. Since the times of Thomas Jefferson, language in this Country and elsewhere has been a vanishing skill and art, and our modern means of communication clearly seem to be accelerating this process exponentially.

    Is homo sapiens losing its sapience?

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  121. Linda -  April 13, 2011 - 8:19 am

    I learned English/Spanish at the same time. English at school/home, Spanish at home with my parents. My parents also spoke English. I believe knowing more than one language when you are young is an advantage. When I am speaking in either Spanish or English and I come to a needed word that I can’t readily recall, I think of the word in the opposite language and translate it to the one I’m using and I find that the word I oome up with is the best in defining and capturing the truest essence of the scenario I wish to express.

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  122. ThatOneGuy -  April 13, 2011 - 8:18 am

    Dictionary.com, why don’t you ever cite your sources for these articles? I would love to read the actual study, but you don’t provide a link.

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  123. Rob Lewis -  April 13, 2011 - 8:07 am

    I think the proof of the pudding is right here, in the answers to this article – 90% plus of you seem articulate and have raised interesting points, a far higher percentage than other comments I’ve seen on this site!

    My own position: I have two trilingual children, and am raising a third. My son Joshua grew up in Spain with English, Catalan and Spanish, and has just graduated from Cambridge University in the UK in Latin and Spanish. My daughter Meltem (aged 9) speaks English to me and Turkish in most other situations, but goes to a French school, where she is top of her class in that language. She was incredibly articulate at an early age, which gave the lie to some studies I’d seen whereby bilinguals can be slower learners. It remains to be seen whether her brother Kaan (nearly 2) learns as quickly, but I believe there is a male-female disparity, and that he is less communicative at the moment.

    But in general, I believe that societies like the USA and UK are short-sighted to give language-learning a low priority, for reasons given in your thoughtful article.

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  124. MannyHM -  April 13, 2011 - 7:56 am

    I think attitude has a lot to do on learning a new or different language. If a child or an adult is made to believe that learning another language is abandoning one’s own, learning becomes more difficult and it becomes a burden. If learning is viewed as an adventure or a conquest with a prize or a treasure to be obtained, it’s much easier. If a Hispanic person is made to believe that he is trying to sound like a Gringo when speaking English, that psychological barrier has to be overcome first to obtain fluency and the correct pronunciation.
    In Europe, this is a non-issue really and being able to understand and speak in 3 languages is no big deal.

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  125. Carly -  April 13, 2011 - 7:54 am

    I learned English when I was 3 years old, ASL when I was 7, and Greek when I was 10.

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  126. bill -  April 13, 2011 - 7:53 am

    my daughter is 3.5 and speaks 3 languages (English, Spanish, French). she has no problem distinguishing between the three, and quickly comprehends which language she should use with whomever she is interacting. the key is to not mix the languages. she and i always speak English. she and her mother always speak Spanish. and she speak French at kindergarten with the teachers and her peers. it is a delight to see and i wish that i had had such an advantage in life. we also have friends who have raised their children this way, with the same good results. we live in switzerland. so multiple languages is a way of life here.

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  127. Carly -  April 13, 2011 - 7:52 am

    Take advantage of any opportunities to learn more than 1 language when you’re young. That is when it is the easiest to learn a new language. If that’s how you learn 1 language, why not 2?

    My first lanuage was Spanish, but I then learned English, American Sign Language, and Greek. And I will say that the earlier I learned the language, the easier and faster I could comprehend the language.

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  128. F.H. -  April 13, 2011 - 7:48 am

    I grew up learning Urdu at home, English in school, Swahili in the streets and another Indian language spoken frquently in my neighbourhood during my first 10 yrs of life living in East Africa. The hearing of a different language and processing it in your mind and actually understanding it gives a spark in your brain and makes you feel so smart! Sometimes when you hear something long enough, you may even be able to speak it! As we moved to another neighbourhood, after a few years I totally forgot the previous neighbourhood Indian language but started to fully understand the new different Indian language I was hearing daily in my new neighbourhood… I think I had become to old to learn to speak it so didn’t speak it! Now about 8 ys later I am exposed to the 2nd Indian language again and I can still understand it and can say a few words. Oh by the way in my later years I was learning French in school and reading Arabic text 5 days a week! It really does open up doors in your brain and sometimes I feel like I can even understand how some animals around me feel.

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  129. Ada K. -  April 13, 2011 - 7:23 am

    I grew up in a Polish-English household, and have since learned French, Indonesian, Malay, and very rudimentary Spanish. Bilingualism from childhood helps create varied soundscapes imbued with meaning. It’s like studying music, and will enrich learning music from a young age if a child has more sounds at hand to describe life. That, plus learning about different cuisines and cooking techniques, gives young imaginations much more to play with and more to learn from. I never had a sense of “language confusion” as a child, but balancing a world of two or more cultures from two different countries has led me to a deep examination of the universe, and an ability to adjust to living anywhere in the world, a world full of color and expression.

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  130. G h a d a -  April 13, 2011 - 7:16 am

    i grow up with tow languages,now im learnig tow more,and its so easy , its helpful to be bilingual,i think it made me smarter =)

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  131. Jabani -  April 13, 2011 - 7:10 am

    Someone said something to the effect that the more languages you know the more heads you have.Serious thinkers have since recognized the advantages of knowing more languages. The result of the research is more of a confirmation that discovery.

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  132. Cleo Cartagena -  April 13, 2011 - 7:06 am

    Being bilingual or trilingual is and advantage when always learning to use at least one of the languajes correctly. It is ok to interchange, but always using one langue correctly is important. It does espand one’s brain power and help you become better aware of the universe and things around you in a brower sence. I am bilingual and it has brought me great advantages not only in my life, but in the lives of people I help everyday with my skills. I am a translator/interpreter thanks to being bilingual.

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  133. Daisy -  April 13, 2011 - 6:56 am

    I began to learn a second language at the age of 2 which however I did not pursue after the age of 12 for a few years. However, when I decided to continue my studies in a few years’ time, I found that it was much easier than I thought it might be. Actually, I am one of the most lazy people in my family, since most of them know at least 3 languages. Heck, one of my best friends (Belgian) speaks 5 languages, 3 of them fluently.

    Anyway, I have definitely noticed that the findings of this study also apply in my case in the affirmative.

    I never got confused by learning to speak a second language. Once you master a second language, then it is easy to see how the difference is not just a matter of associations: complex ideas and expressions cannot just travel from one language to another.

    It’s the most amazing thing: you understand what it says ‘here’, you know the culture, the background, the smells, the roses; and when you try to put it all together back into your mother tongue it may not all go so well, since there may not even be a related concept for the set of all these expressions! Even if one makes up a word, it will often not be able to replace the original word or expression, unless the experience also becomes part of our own tongue as well (eventually). This is why translation is never an automated process and why linguists will always be in need. This is also why learning a second language gives you (sometimes) the ability to see ‘outside’ your limited viewpoints. Often a second language will introduce you to literature that is best read from the original; often you will find that it is not only the answers that are different under a new perspective: the very questions are often different as well.

    It would also be interesting to examine how this works the other way around as well: when millions of people today fail to learn even one language fluently (resorting to 133t sp33ch and slang) how does this fact affect their cognitive abilities in the long run? Do they end up as ‘dumb drones’ under a system that enjoys watching them live their lives as subordinates, having the ability to utter only few more words than, say, the average pug?

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  134. krishna -  April 13, 2011 - 6:55 am

    I Agree!! this article is good ,i think being an bilingual is an advantage to express your thoughts in different ways because u have more words.

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  135. Alexandra -  April 13, 2011 - 6:22 am

    Michele – “I totally think that’s true! Not to brag, but I was the only bilingual kid in school, and I always got the best marks!”

    … that doesn’t predict CAUSATION… *facepalm* oo my, some people should learn research methods and statistics.

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  136. JOJ -  April 13, 2011 - 6:08 am

    -especially :)

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  137. Shawn -  April 13, 2011 - 6:07 am

    I whole-heartedly agree. My children are preschool age and bilingual. Trying to put parental bias aside, they are both quite intelligent in their own ways and both began speaking earlier than normal despite what some other studies indicate. In my experience, Werker’s study is spot on.

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  138. louis paiz -  April 13, 2011 - 5:40 am

    when we moved to usa with our children we decided that we were going to speack enlish as a first language so my wife and i have to help them with the school home work so for us it was a nesecity to become bilingual it was hard but we did it. it was like bornning twice speacking english and spanish is a very important step that we took so now we can communicate with our children and granchildren with not problem at all.

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  139. JOJ -  April 13, 2011 - 5:34 am

    My crib language is Filipino and in school I learned the english language and from my work I talk to Americans. It’s fun specially when I shift to talk 2 languages. LOL :))

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  140. Tan Tan -  April 13, 2011 - 5:32 am

    I guess that’s true! as I experienced, when I was a child I used to speak 2 different languages namely, Japanese and English. after sometime I learned to speak Filipino then I started studying Korean and now i can speak all of them fluently. Being raised up a bilingual, it helped me a lot to study and speak different languages in an easier way. It really helped me to become a multi lingual person.

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  141. fry -  April 13, 2011 - 5:28 am

    learning diff languages is cool!? :D

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  142. Devani -  April 13, 2011 - 5:24 am

    My two children are learning not only 2, but 3 languages. They live everyday’s life speaking a language outside our home, and two at home, since his father’s mother tongue is a different one than mine. The little one is only 9 months old,so too early to say something about it, but the oldest one, now 3 years old speaks fluently (for his age) the language spoken at the daycare, and he’s speaking both languages at home with a certain mix (I’m sure for his age it’s still not too easy to separate). But he understands perfectly what his father says or what I say to him. Sometimes he is telling me something in the language on his father, I reply to him in my language and he’s replying back (in one of the two languages) as a clear sign that he understood. And moreover, he’s amazingly switching to a language when he notices someone else is speaking it (if someone says “bonjour” to him, he’s replying inmediately in french).
    So, I really don’t think bilingualism, or even triliangualism could damage someone.

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  143. Dave -  April 13, 2011 - 5:22 am

    I am capable of speaking four language. English as first language, followed by Mandarin, Cantonese and Bahasa. Indeed studying more than one language confusion is inevitable in the beginning, it happens frequently here in Malaysia that people tend to mix their languages to articulate their thoughts or intentions.

    I appreciate English but not broken English.

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  144. Lynnsey -  April 13, 2011 - 4:53 am

    Being bilingual has helped me with a lot of things. I tend to relate vocabulary words in SAT prep tests to French because so many words in the English language have Latin origins, as does French. So, I might see eclat or eclaire and I will know their meaning. I’m also very good at picking up accents for theater because I can detect the subtle differences in each dialect and accent from the French “r” to the Scottish “r” to the Russian “r”. I also find myself easily picking up patterns in other languages in sentence structure because English is so different in its structure compared to, say, French and I have two different structures to compare other languages to.

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  145. Marc -  April 13, 2011 - 4:51 am

    Confucius said that to learn a second language was to gain a second mind.

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  146. Fulya -  April 13, 2011 - 4:01 am

    We live in Istanbul. When our daughter was a baby, I read up on bilingualism and we became dedicated to it (for example I only spoke English oh her, my husband only spoke Turkish). I believe that it is not enough to understand both languages. One must be able to write poetry, to truly be able to express oneself in both languages.

    I got into quite heated debates with other American/Turkish couples who were going the English-only route (despite living in Turkey, the father spoke only English to their children). They put their kids in English medium preschools. The foreign moms identify as “ex-pats” while I identify as an “immigrant” (i.e., trying to assimilate, trying to become fluent myself,having fun with language and culture).

    Most of our kids went to the same school K-12. During their junior year I was talking to the principal and he said the only one of the “mixed” kids who was truly bilingual and thriving in both languages was our daughter. The others speak with accents and faulty grammar in both languages.

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  147. Meg -  April 13, 2011 - 3:41 am

    I was raised trilingual, and for me it was very very easy, i never got confused with the languages.
    If now i want to learn a new language i think it would be harder, but i could make it.

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  148. THE_JEDI_MASTER -  April 13, 2011 - 3:32 am

    I think this is true in some circumstances, but not in others. When I was little, the only language I knew was English. Now I speak English, Spanish, Latin, and Ancient Greek. I have always done very well in school no matter how many languages I spoke at the time.

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  149. Baller -  April 13, 2011 - 2:50 am

    As a Canadian-born-Chinese, I grew up in a Cantonese-speaking household. However, due to my early exposure to Western media, I must have been exposed to the English language very early on. Not to mention, once school started, I was immersed in a monolingual environment where English was the only acceptable language to speak. For me personally then, I have a very strong tendency to speak English outside of the house (and in unfamiliar settings) and Cantonese in more intimate settings. I was never mixing the two up – however, I did find it difficult to speak Cantonese to certain people (especially if I was not comfortable). So I guess, due to my upbringing, environmental stimulus does play a factor for me with regards to language.

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  150. Zurk -  April 13, 2011 - 2:42 am

    “[T]he theory that suggests bilingualism may actually lead to language confusion.”

    Funnily enough, I support both theories. I grew up in America, speaking Polish and Spanish (and then English which I learned in school.) To this day I’ll be talking to someone in Spanish and I’ll say a Polish word completely thinking it is Spanish, or vise-versa. The only language I don’t get confused with is English. Spanish and Polish are, in my head, the same language, even though they’re nothing alike.

    But on the other hand, my fluency in three languages led to much better literacy and language comprehension than my peers in high school and college. Since I have the ability to describe a concept in three different languages, explaining (and thereby understanding) the concept in greater depth in one language is easy as pie. I have three times the vocabulary, thee times the metaphors, and three completely different language paradigms to choose from.

    And I know that when my children are born, I will do my best to make sure they grow up in a similar environment.

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  151. Jason -  April 13, 2011 - 2:29 am

    I’m in college to be an elementary school teacher with minors in Psychology, (took Psych classes geared towards children), and Child and Adolescent Development.

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard that learning multiple languages at a young age could actually be damaging. If I remember correctly, there’s a specific timeframe, possibly one to two years of age, where our brains grow exponentially and absorb a great deal of information. Correlations do exist between learning multiple languages and excelling in linguistics.. (I think I even read an article discussing an improvement in mathematics.) There are numerous peer-reviewed articles and case studies that coincide and support this theory.

    On a side note, there’re also tons of articles that show a correlation between learning music at an early age and performing exceptionally in mathematics.

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  152. Teresita -  April 13, 2011 - 2:28 am

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE!

    However, I could not help but get annoyed when K-12 teacher Mr. Richfield on April 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm compared the learning capabilities or “smarts” of his Hispanic students versus that of his Asian students, instead of addressing “his own smarts” as relates to whatever foreign languages he, himself (if any) may have ever learned, and how that affected his own life. Furthermore, such an unpleasant comparison sounded to me more like ill begotten, generalized prejudice, and he should apologize for having been so careless an educator of the mind.

    I am a native Spanish speaker and have, throughout my 67 years, learned to speak, read and write English fluently. I have also had the joy of learning French, German, and Italian, and even have a little Hebrew on the side. That does not make me smarter than anyone else, but it certanly has made me a very alert and interesting person while I try to make sense and communicate with the use of foreign sounds, and I have very infrequently found myself confused when using any of my learned languages.

    Besides, the knowledge that I have acquired of the differences in grammar and sentence structures, though they may not have shed much of a light into the different cultures, it has obliged and exercised my brain into being so much more aware of the nuances, differences and similarities between them as compared to mine, and how much more fascinating and challenging has this made my life!

    Next time I hear a monolingual person criticizing multilingualism as being a defeating force in the development of intelligence and learning abilities in children (or in people, at whatever age), I will be so tempted to smack them right across their stupid, incompetent, monolingual mouth.

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  153. krah ransford d.y -  April 13, 2011 - 2:21 am

    really, being a bilingua or even multi lingua can help you sail through the whole world without a hitch. i encourage it strongly

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  154. Mick -  April 13, 2011 - 1:22 am

    I speak four languages fluently (Catalan, Dutch, English and Spanish – in alphabetic order) and have never found it to be problem. The whole question is silly. It has enriched my life enormously. People often ask me: What language do you think in? I really don’t know. I usually tell them to think about people who were born deaf and dumb… They can think, so, what language do they think in? Let Whorf’s theory solve that one. And please don’t come up with the usual “they think in sign language”.

    Reply
  155. Ngagne -  April 13, 2011 - 12:57 am

    My kids are growing up with two languages, English and Wolof (West African Language). And they’re being introduced to French slowly. I think by them learning the languages of their parents’ country of birth, helps them have a sense of belonging to another culture whilst being perfectly Americans by birth. I think that will definitely help their perception of the world they’re living in. Besides, speaking other languages will give them more open-minded abilities and consequently enrich their cultural background.

    Reply
  156. Rick -  April 13, 2011 - 12:45 am

    Interesting article. I speak 4 languages fluently (Italian, English, Spanish, and Classical Latin) as well as being able to read Classical Greek, French and Portugese- due to their similarity as Romance languages.
    Pehaps, learning languages is not the dominating factor, nor can grades or statistics give us an absolute truth about if those who learn more languages are smarter or are quicker. For example, I have a friend who can’t for his life speak decent Spanish and Italian although we have studied together for the same amount of time; but he has his degree in Financing and can whip me any day of the week in that field.
    I do not get the best grade in university, but am a private tutor and tassistant to several professors for other years, including those above me.
    Possibly, what is more important is the amount that one reads and discusses what is read and the ideas of others. For example a man who reads daily the news and two or three books a week whether he speaks 10 languages or not will have deeper understanding of the world and in my opinion be much smarter, because of his determination to be intellectually prepare and sharp.
    But then again, each language opens you up to a whole new world of thought, the Spaniards don’t think the same way as the Americans, nor did Cicero, Caesar. A language is like a key to a new culture and hence into a new way of looking at the world. Perhaps those who are professors or parents should focus primarily on what and how much their child or students read, and yes that they learn new languages because if he is able to take a step outside of his culture by going into another he will be able to make a mature judgement about what is good and what is not so good in his own culture.

    Reply
  157. Anna -  April 13, 2011 - 12:38 am

    I also believe that growing up bilingual is very advantageous. It is the reason why it was and still is so easy for me to learn other languages. By now my everyday live consists of at least three different languages and three different cultures such as German, Russian and English. Knowing more than one language definitely “boosts my ability to navigate in this world more confidently and effectively”. I experience that every day.

    Reply
  158. mallikarjuna -  April 13, 2011 - 12:32 am

    ya i did grew in environment of two regions with different languages,however ther was a bit difficulty (obviuos) in the starting its not so difficult later, though we can speak one language better with whom we are more used to, i believe its the presumed notion in the peoples mind as the author points out and it leads to conclusion in their mind that those who can speak more than one language cannot do any intellectual progress and considered dumb, ye i wish to prove them wrong

    Reply
  159. phil -  April 12, 2011 - 11:44 pm

    I grew up with english and german. then i had to learn french. Being trilingual then i guess, i learned spanish and am learning japanese now.
    I connect a language to an environment and a group of people. German was the family language, french the language i connected to friends while living in france. Enlgish is now my Australia language.

    It is sometimes quite difficult to switch language and environment. Its like having a personality that goes with every language.

    Being multilingual definitely has its advantages, say to look up an article on wikipedia in another language when the first try didn’t bring much results.

    Reply
  160. Cyberquill -  April 12, 2011 - 11:40 pm

    The Whorf hypothesis is dubious anyway. I’ve been referring to “pants” and “scissors” in plural all my life, yet I still think of them as single objects. So much for language shaping how we perceive the world.

    Reply
  161. Priscilla -  April 12, 2011 - 11:36 pm

    Mr. Richfield — did you even read the article? Those students you speak of are probably English Language Learners and did not start off bilingual. I feel sorry for your students because you have stereotyped them and have low expectations for them. No wonder they don’t do well.

    Reply
  162. baby jobert jejemon -  April 12, 2011 - 11:21 pm

    I know Tagalog and Kapampangan and a little of English and also Jejemon!!!! Jejeje…

    Reply
  163. GRACE SUAREZ -  April 12, 2011 - 11:16 pm

    Not really. I speak two to three languages but it did’t affect me. however, i still focus on English skills.

    Reply
  164. Chief -  April 12, 2011 - 10:39 pm

    I wouldn’t say that I grew up bilingual, but I was put into French classes starting in the first grade and consequently studied it and immersed myself in the language in and outside of the classroom since. I think that Americans are not taught the mechanics or the grammar of our own language very well and having learned French – as I’m sure many of you have heard before – has helped me very much in learning about my own language. In high school I started learning Spanish, Japanese, German, and Turkish. In college I started Arabic and continued with French and Spanish. Point is, every time I started learning another language, the ideas behind the grammar became more and more familiar each time. When you learn how different people express an idea in their language distinct from the way you express it in your own language, I find it to be pretty eye-opening and that it gives you an in to how other cultures perceive various concepts. I never really had trouble with confusing words or phrases with all the languages that I studied. If you really immerse yourself in learning that language, then why would you produce anything but what you hear and learn in that language. It seems obvious to me that if you are able to express one idea in many different ways, that you would be able to pick up on nuances more readily than people who only know one way to express an idea since, as the article said, you might spend more time processes what you see and experience in the world.

    Reply
  165. derek -  April 12, 2011 - 10:18 pm

    2 languages give more clarity when reading.

    Reply
  166. Olivia -  April 12, 2011 - 10:08 pm

    I grew up knowing two languages. My first language is Spanish, but my primary is English. When I was brought to the U.S. at the age of 3, I spoke only Spanish and am told that I quickly picked up English. I did so simply by listening to my cousins converse. The only issue I believe I have is that it does take me a bit longer to process what I read. My husband has suggested it could be because my brain is translating what I read from English, to Spanish and back to English. I speak English without an accent (except when I get riled up) and am very particular about proper grammar. This I credit my 3rd grade teacher for; she was VERY strict about it. I can switch to speaking Spanish fairly easy. I say this because I live in an area that is not highly populated with a Latin community. Therefore, the opportunity to speak Spanish is rare. When I am around my family, I fall right back into it.

    Reply
  167. Charles McKinney -  April 12, 2011 - 10:04 pm

    Although I never grew up in a bilingual household, I started learning foreign languages in high school. Ever since I have developed an affinity for studying foreign languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Italian, German and now I am learning Korean (since I am working here as a foreign expat). My brain automatically picks up on languages and it has boosted my confidence in wanting to explore more of the world. Not only does one learn the language alone, but also the culture and custom that the language represents. Actually, I recently heard that bilingualism can be used as a preventative measure in the development of the demencia disease that affects some elderly people.

    Reply
  168. Bm -  April 12, 2011 - 9:54 pm

    I dont have any experience like this one,in my opinion being bilingual is an edge to everyone,think that you know more than your language is really awesome,you can communicate well with other races which can boost friendship with both parties-there are words that meanigful in their language but to you it’s meaningless-it’s good that you know other language specially when you are in the crowd-you can prohibit something awful words which can hurt them-it makes peace not trouble:-)just so i thought..

    Reply
  169. keya -  April 12, 2011 - 9:47 pm

    Being multi-lingual is a boon in the times of globalization, one can easily win hearts by speaking the person’s native language…. shakira knows several languages and she’s happy knowing them… but it’s really difficult to learn various languages… don’t know how people manage to do that…

    Reply
  170. durgesh k. upadhyay -  April 12, 2011 - 9:43 pm

    knowledge of more than one language boosts up my ability to navigate in this world more confidently and effectively.

    Reply
  171. Luis F. Acosta, Jr. -  April 12, 2011 - 9:32 pm

    Of course, I don’t know what it was like when I was a baby. :o)

    Reply
  172. Luis F. Acosta, Jr. -  April 12, 2011 - 9:31 pm

    I think people who have language aptitude gain from this multilinguistic exposure more than people who don’t. I remember when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old hearing a lady on TV speaking French. I remember imitating it. But that was the extent of my exposure. However, when I took French 1 in 10th grade, I picked it up quickly. In fact, I took French 3, skipping French 2. I kept associating French words and grammar either to English or to Spanish. Some aspects of English helped for some things while Spanish helped with other things.

    Reply
  173. Joseph -  April 12, 2011 - 9:29 pm

    I actually grew up hearing 3 languages: Arabic from my mom, Chaldean from my dad, and English from school and t.v. There was a bit of confusion distinguishing between Arabic and Chaldean as I was growing up, but I still could understand them both. In the long run, though, listening to multiple languages has helped me be better at learning language in general. I was pretty good at learning Spanish in high school Even English grammar is easier for me.

    I’d say learning more languages the younger you are is better!

    Reply
  174. Anonymous -  April 12, 2011 - 9:22 pm

    Bilingual has helped me communicate in China.

    Reply
  175. araceli gutierrez -  April 12, 2011 - 9:05 pm

    growing up spanish was my first language. i learned english in kindergarden. i dont remeber it ever being confusing for me to change from one language to another. even to this day i can speak with some of my other bilingual friends switching from english to spanish in the middle of my sentence. it is not confusing at all because i dont have to think of what im saying, it comes naturally. also, classmates that i have who arent biligual are as equally smart as i am. being bilingual has helped me a lot in my 17 years of life because i can understand more people and communicate with a wider variety of individuals. knowing both languages, especially spanish, has also helped me to learn a third language, french, considering that they are both romance languages.

    Reply
  176. bob -  April 12, 2011 - 8:56 pm

    It made me smart

    Reply
  177. Jim Bandura -  April 12, 2011 - 8:45 pm

    I completely agree. My wife and I are both teachers and my son is growing up in a bilingual environment in Colombia South America. I speak to him in English and my wife, in-laws and rest of the community in Spanish. I have read up on these theories and many psycologists and linguists tend to think that a mother tongue must be established for atleast a year. Oddly enough a grand majority of these “experts” are monolingual.

    We have stuck to the rule of association, and my son has received two languages since the womb. He associates English with me and my family in the U.S. and Spanish with the rest of the people around him here in Colombia. If you ask him something in a particular language, he will respond in that same language. In his short 2.5 years of life thus far, I have only heard him confuse rather combine one Spanish and English word. The rest of the time when he mixes the two languages in a phrase it is because he does not know a word in a particular language.

    It is a completely natural learning process for him in both languages, so only natural language errors occur. We have noticed that he is much more advanced in both his language abilities and cognitive abilites than his peers in the neighborhood and his “school-like” daycare. We just met with his teacher last week and she confirmed this as he received all perfect marks in cognitive, manipulative/motor and social skills goals for his first two semesters.

    Reply
  178. Sarika -  April 12, 2011 - 8:39 pm

    That is quite an interesting article! The language confusion thing is a little bit hard to believe. Being bilingual myself, I find it rather easy to shift from the first language to the other. Perhaps I don’t fully understand it, but I think when you grow up in an environment where your household predominantly speaks one language, and people in your peripheral environment speak another language, it becomes easier to differ between both languages.

    I do, however, understand code-switching. If I’m understanding correctly, an example of it would be speaking in your mother-tongue (for me it’s Marathi) and then unconsciously adding English words in between sentences.
    I’ll never forget an odd memory of pre-school, when I was playing near the sandbox and someone asked if I wanted to use the pail and shovel, and I answered “no thanks” in Marathi! He/she looked at me peculiarly as I quickly scrambled to reiterate myself in English.
    It’s funny that it would happen again. It’s happened very few times in my life. In the second grade, I believe, someone was explaining something to me and I muttered, “What does that mean?” in Marathi, as well. Funny that I would remember such odd things.

    But I do agree with this article when it talks of increased cognitive skills. Very informative article!!

    Reply
  179. Gold Ninja -  April 12, 2011 - 8:31 pm

    I speak Spanish and English and I think that it’s a good thing ’cause you know more words and you hear the same root word in some cases. It’s awesome.

    Reply
  180. Julian -  April 12, 2011 - 8:30 pm

    I speak 3 languages. My experience is that the language we use does indeed affect the way we think. Using multiple languages can help to look at the same ideas from more than one point of view AND to avoid getting stuck in notions that are peculiar to one language/culture.

    When the underlying ideas are useful (and can be expressed in another language) rather than just the words, you’ve found an concept worth remembering & talking about.

    Reply
  181. marino -  April 12, 2011 - 8:25 pm

    I grew up learning Catalan and English when I was a baby and infant. Then when I got into kindergarten I started learning Spanish. I never had any language confusion and I can speak all languages fluently now, aswell as understand other romance languages easily.

    Reply
  182. Luther -  April 12, 2011 - 7:49 pm

    I believe speaking two languages (or more) can be useful to understand situations by perceiving them from several points of view.
    However, when it comes to share one’s feelings on whatever the subject, the bilingual person usually has more difficulties because, in my example, I tend to think of a word in my first language before I can find a close equivalent in English — for most of the time the exact equivalent from my original language does not exist.

    Reply
  183. Alvin -  April 12, 2011 - 7:47 pm

    This is very interesting though I am confused slightly about the “only in North America does it seem to be an issue” bit. Do they mean people FROM NA? or living in NA…?

    Reply
  184. Yusuf -  April 12, 2011 - 7:35 pm

    I really doubt this.

    Reply
  185. ramon sta. cruz -  April 12, 2011 - 7:28 pm

    The problem with scientific studies such as the one above is that they lead to generalizations which should not be because we are all unique individuals and we all react differently to different situations. The downside is people will expect the same results on all individuals and will be unnecesarily disappointed whenever things go differently which will happen more than a dozen of times.

    Reply
  186. Prosperina -  April 12, 2011 - 7:14 pm

    I grew up in a bilingual environment and found it helped me learn new languages better since I am not confined to one set of rules in construction.

    Reply
  187. tanaya -  April 12, 2011 - 7:05 pm

    i guess biligualism maneuver a conversation.

    Reply
  188. Lourdes -  April 12, 2011 - 6:59 pm

    My native language is Spanish, but I took up English lessons from a very early age. Despite this, I have never found any difficulty throughout my learning. On the contrary, bilingualism has made it considerably easier for me to understand and study other languages, since many of them stem from a common root and this means numerous words have a similar pronounciation or, at least, are spelled similarly in different verbal codes. So it is that the more languages I study, the easier I find learning new ones.
    The only inconvenience about this, is I get somewhat confused with spelling: at times, I mix up ortographic rules from different languages. Although it happens only rarely, the fact remains my spelling is not as good as I’d like.

    Reply
  189. Maria -  April 12, 2011 - 6:53 pm

    I speak English and Spanish and although I use English more often because of school, knowing Spanish has helped me a lot especially in vocabulary. I don’t think it has confused me and I do agree about the enhanced visual and auditory sensitivity.

    Reply
  190. brian -  April 12, 2011 - 6:47 pm

    Having to be grown up with my native english skills i know the language of my parents also which is arabic and aramaic, learning french level 3 in school. Thanks be to Jesus for everything! From a good aptitude for languages i also have the gift of instruments like oud and violin. Language learning has matured me and made me a good seed. Thanks to God for the beautiful gifts.

    Reply
  191. Sharmain -  April 12, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    We don’t speak in a bilingual environment. In fact, it’s more of a TRI-lingual one. We speak the international language, the national language, and our dialect. I say being exposed to different languages as a person grows up DOES improve her cognitive abilities. :) Well, at least based on my observations on the people around me, bilingual people learn faster than our monolingual ones.

    Reply
  192. Abelene -  April 12, 2011 - 6:29 pm

    I’m bilingual and the two languages I know are ASL and english. I feel I’m more aware visually than aware auditory for obvious reasons. I think depending on who you are being bilingual might lead to confusion or it might help you.

    Reply
  193. michele -  April 12, 2011 - 6:24 pm

    I totally think that’s true! Not to brag, but I was the only bilingual kid in school, and I always got the best marks!

    Reply
  194. Sy -  April 12, 2011 - 6:22 pm

    Hi,
    my name’s Sy, and I have beem brought up in a multilingual environment.
    I am from Curacao, and our native language is called Papiamentu. A language you can only appreciate on 3 small islands in the caribbean and parts of Africa.
    The majority of the Curacoan population communicate since their childhood also in Dutch, English and Spanish (aside of our native language). Dutch is actually the language most schools use for teaching and English and Spanish are just taught.
    As to my experience it hasn’t been confusing switching from one language to the other everyday (you just find yourself constantly doing a lot of translating in your head LOL). But being multilingual has opened many doors and broaden my horizons. No matter where I’d be, I think I’ll teach my kids just the same….

    Reply
  195. Kristina -  April 12, 2011 - 6:22 pm

    Being multilingual has only helped me “navigate” through language. By knowing words in other languages, for example, I am able to use those to enhance my vocabulary in English. I almost prefer to speak to people of other cultures in other languages, because it makes me feel empowered and more intelligent, as well as boosts my brainpower as I communicate with them. Sometimes, using only my native tongue to read, write, speak, and listen bores me. After traveling abroad, I find myself extremely restless and anxious to get to a place where I don’t understand everything that is being said. Bilingualism is the BEST!

    Reply
  196. Rachel -  April 12, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    That’s cool. I have learned something new today. :)
    Keep up with the awesomeness!!

    Reply
  197. kattylen -  April 12, 2011 - 6:16 pm

    this cool i am this too!

    Reply
  198. Regina -  April 12, 2011 - 6:15 pm

    I’m from Malaysia and I speak multiple languages (English, Malay, Chinese – 3 dialects and Japanese) but I don’t find myself having verbal/vocab confusions during everyday interactions.

    It’s quite the norm in Malaysia when you hear someone speaking Mandlish (Mandarin + English) and I have no problem using words from English, Malay and Chinese all in ONE sentence and the sentence will still make perfect sense.

    Everyone outside of Malaysia will probably not understand it and calls it “broken English”.I do agree that it is indeed broken.

    I have to state that if a child isn’t tutored well into mastering the language before re-mixing it, the consequences can be dire. There are many who are well-versed in Chinese or Malay here but their grasp on English is very weak. They can only speak broken English, which is no good outside of Malaysia.

    Reply
  199. Mr. Richfield -  April 12, 2011 - 6:14 pm

    Not totally true. I have been teaching K-12 students for more than 20 years. Based on my experience, Hispanic children tend to be slower in development. Asian students on the other hand learn quicker. I guess it depends on the environment. This article is not accurate.

    Reply
  200. Dayanara Gutierrez -  April 12, 2011 - 6:13 pm

    4-12-11

    I grew up in a Spanish speaking family. However, when I came to the United States I learned English and we all know that learning another language increases brain activity which makes children and adults more aware of their environment.

    Reply
  201. gigi -  April 12, 2011 - 6:12 pm

    OMG Language confusion does occur sometimes I may think a word in spanish actually exists in English.IDK why? I think this happened when I was little too I would make up words and combine words.Weird this study may actually partially right.

    Reply
  202. Audrey H. -  April 12, 2011 - 6:06 pm

    I was suprised to hear that it doesn’t confuse kids at such a young age to be learnig two languages. This was a great article, and I learned a lot

    Reply
  203. Anling -  April 12, 2011 - 6:02 pm

    I have studied several languages out whereof eight I can speak with some confidence. Only five I speak with fluency and can modify my accent to speak various dialects. These languages are English, French, Spanish, German and Dutch. I have found that I over analyse most every word in every sentence I hear. I consider historical definitions and definitions in other languages. This has given me a much greater appreciation of poetry, literature and all languages, but has significantly slowed the direct automatic conversion of words to thoughts. It takes several minutes of reading before I can get in the “flow” and can really begin speed reading. Also, on less related note, one of the other benefits is dreaming in different language or even dreaming in a hybrid of various languages.

    Reply
  204. Golaria -  April 12, 2011 - 6:01 pm

    Speaking as a bilingual Persian American, I can say that learning both English and Persian/Farsi growing up was beneficial to my development. I would probably be much less socially savvy if I hadn’t learned both languages at an early age.

    I didn’t start confusing my languages until later on in high school when I was attempting to learn Spanish. Perhaps if children are at taught multiple languages at a much younger age, they would be much more able to master the languages without confusion.

    Reply
  205. PersianAmerican -  April 12, 2011 - 5:59 pm

    I feel that being bilingual has given me an advantage over my life over the past twenty two years that I’ve been alive.

    What has caused me problems, if you look at it that way, is that I have grown up differently culturally and had to adapt to the environment around, which in all honestly wasn’t too difficult.

    Reply
  206. mariama -  April 12, 2011 - 5:56 pm

    Hey I like this and it is so intresting and is so nice to see this is like my student in school they are so nice just like you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  207. moomoo -  April 12, 2011 - 5:55 pm

    As a young child I was confused between 3 different languages thinking it was one language. My mother would switch between all 3 languages with me and so when I started school, I was pretty confused and didn’t know the differences between the languages (or what they were even called).

    Reply
  208. Captain Z -  April 12, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    My cousins are bilingual. They are Puerto Rican and Bajan. However, they are doing averagely in school. On the other hand, growing up, I went to a multicultural school. The majority of the students were bilingual and they were the honor students all the time. The ones who only spoke one language, which was English, were always subordinate when it came to grades.

    Reply
  209. omar -  April 12, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    There is so much to study here. I think, besides the difference between bilingual and monolingual children, there will also be great discrepancies between bilingual children of different language combinations. For example, a child growing up with two Latin based languages would have a different language experience from someone who, say, grew up learning English and Arabic–as I did.

    Reply
  210. Brooke -  April 12, 2011 - 5:50 pm

    not a surprise! anything you learn young, you learn more easily. I personally believe that learning two languages as a child, while your mind is most perceptive, is extremely beneficial. Very interesting research!

    Reply
  211. :) -  April 12, 2011 - 5:45 pm

    Being bilingual has definatley help me in school. For instance we take a lot of SAT vocabulary test in my English 3AP class and sometimes it helps to relate a word to spanish.

    Reply
  212. Paul -  April 12, 2011 - 5:39 pm

    Knowledge of other languages only advances thought and extended understanding of the world. Youth must perpetuate this potential sophistication by living in a less homogenous and monolingual society. Throughout my life, my initial bilingual upbringing and now comprehension of a third language have simply escalated my ability to understand the world and its peoples and have been bereft of any malignant complications.

    Reply
  213. Sylvia Soicher -  April 12, 2011 - 5:36 pm

    My grandson is 3 and a half and trilingual. My kid grew up trilingual too. I think it just opens their minds more, and their perception of the world and culture is great.

    The more the better…

    Reply
  214. Oh so Pogi -  April 12, 2011 - 5:33 pm

    oops, I meant fluently on sentence 3 :)

    Reply
  215. Oh so Pogi -  April 12, 2011 - 5:31 pm

    yeah. i was bilingual when I was a kid, and I remember studying english at an age of 3 and at the same time, I am also learning Filipino. Now, as a teenager, I love reading books in both languages and I also can speak both fluent. That is why I am an avid reader of The Hot Word, and Dictionary.com, to expand my vocabulary in English.

    Interesting article, I now know why I am more inclined in words rather than in arts. :)

    Reply
  216. Nicole -  April 12, 2011 - 5:14 pm

    I do believe that this is possible. I myself have grown up with two languages, and am now trying to learn a third. It’s helpful.

    Reply

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