advertisement
21 January 2011

A second language gives toddlers an edge

Toddlers who learn a second language from infancy have an edge over their unilingual peers, according to a new study.

0

Toddlers who learn a second language from infancy have an edge over their unilingual peers, according to a new study from Concordia University and York University in Canada and the Université de Provence in France. As reported in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, the research team tested the understanding of English and French words among 24-month-olds to see if bilingual toddlers had acquired comparable vocabulary in each language.

"By 24 months, we found bilingual children had already acquired a vocabulary in each of their two languages and gained some experience in switching between English or French," says senior researcher Diane Poulin-Dubois, a psychology professor at Concordia University and associate director of the Centre for Research in Human Development. "We found the cognitive benefits of bilingualism come much earlier than reported in previous studies."

As part of the investigation, 63 toddlers were divided into groups of unilingual and bilingual infants. To assess levels of bilingualism, parents completed a language exposure interview and vocabulary checklists, while children completed five basic language and cognitive tests.

"Bilingual children outperformed their unilingual counterparts on tasks where they were distracted," says Poulin-Dubois. "The small bilingual advantage that we observed in our 24-month-old bilinguals is probably due to a combination of infants' experience listening to and using their two languages."

These new findings have practical implications for educators and parents, says Poulin-Dubois. "Exposing toddlers to a second language early in their development provides a bilingual advantage that enhances attention control." - (EurekAlert!, January 2011)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

ChildNews
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

FYI »

When the flu turns deadly Why the flu makes you feel so miserable

Could a deadly flu strain hit SA this winter?

Following an intense flu season in the US and UK, should we be worried about our own upcoming flu season?

Alcohol and acne »

Dagga vs alcohol: Which is worse? SEE: Why you are drinking more alcohol than you realise

Does alcohol cause acne?

Some foods can be a trigger for acne, but what about alcohol? Dermatologist Dr Nerissa Moodley weighs in.