These days many children grow up hearing and using more than one language. Bilingualism is very widespread in the USA, Canada, and Europe etc. The idea that early bilingualism can affect children’s cognitive and language development makes parents anxious even today. In the first half of the 20thcentury, it was considered that second-language acquisition could make children confused and hinder the development of normal cognitive functions. However, the real results of bilingualism are different. Bilingualism does not provoke confusion, has no negative impact on development and even has some important socio-cognitive advantages.
Obviously that there is a big difference between children learning two languages in school and children learning one language in school and another at home. In addition, the level of language can change over time.
The results of the studies have shown that bilingual children have advantages in understanding the communication needs of their interlocutors. Young children who can speak two languages are sensitive to the fact that they can’t understand somebody who speaks a foreign language earlier than other children do. In addition, bilingual children can earlier understand that other people can have false beliefs. However, bilingual children have a smaller vocabulary in each language than monolingual children in their language.
Studies have also shown that bilingual children have better results than monolingual children have on a number of tests of cognitive ability, including mental flexibility, understanding the conventional origin of names and distinguishing between semantic similarity and phonetic similarity.
Bilingualism makes children concentrate their attention on the different things in the context, particularly information that is ambiguous or contradictory.
We can also see the positive effects of bilingualism executive function (or self-control) tasks. Self-control require children to suppress their natural response patterns. For example, not to take sweets when told not to. It is very important because it is positively related to classroom success.
In conclusion, we can say that bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development especially in understanding the beliefs of others. There are no disadvantages of bilingualism like confusion and bilingualism is normal.
These days many children grow up hearing and using more than one language. Bilingualism is very widespread in the USA, Canada, and Europe etc. The idea that early bilingualism can affect children’s cognitive and language development makes parents anxious even today.