Say what? Quotes by experts on bilingualism

By on December 30, 2012
"As we did our research, you could see there was a big difference in the way monolingual and bilingual children processed language. We found that if you gave 5- and 6-year-olds language problems to solve, monolingual and bilingual children knew, pretty much, the same amount of language. But on one question, there was a difference. We asked all the children if a certain illogical sentence was grammatically correct: ‘Apples grow on noses’. The monolingual children couldn’t answer. They’d say, ‘That’s silly’ and they’d stall. But the bilingual children would say, in their own words, ‘It’s silly, but it’s grammatically correct.’ The bilinguals, we found, manifested a cognitive system with the ability to attend to important information and ignore the less important.

The effect on linguistic performance is generally seen as a deficit in which bilingual children control a smaller vocabulary than their monolingual peers and bilingual adults perform more poorly on rapid lexical retrieval tasks. The effect on cognitive performance is to enhance executive functioning and to protect against the decline of executive control in aging. These effects interact to produce a complex pattern regarding the effect of bilingualism on memory performance. Memory tasks based primarily on verbal recall are performed more poorly by bilinguals but memory tasks based primarily on executive control are performed better by bilinguals." Ellen Bialystok, Cognitive Neuroscientist

"In doing research I have found that people think in the languages they are raised with, as original languages. In many instances, people are taught new languages either as a chief second language or for business, educational purposes. The people that speak more than one language fluently are apt to think culturally in both ways, this is and can be a positive thing." J. Walters, Researcher

About Tokyo Families