According to some research, we are born with an innate ability to speak more than one language.
The psychologist Janet Werker (University of British Columbia) studied newborns and their ability to discern different languages. The study proved that monolingual babies were able to discern between languages at the ages of four and six months, while bilingual babies kept that ability till 8 months after birth.
Her latest study shows that bilingual babies are more sensitive to linguistic behaviour than their monolingual peers. What is the study about? Read on: Infants Raised in Bilingual Environments Can Distinguish Unfamiliar Languages
Bilingual benefits reach beyond communication
Ellen Bialystok (York University), Fergus I.M. Craik (Rotman Research Institute), David W. Green (University College London), and Tamar H. Gollan have discussed in Psychological Science in the Public Interest the influences of bilingualism that reach beyond communication tasks.
Having to control interference from one language when speaking another, a bilingual person is better prepared to deal with exercises requiring attention and multitasking. However, though bilinguals are shown to have better cognitive control, they may score lower in vocabulary tests used by psychologists to determine various impairments.
Second language changes the way bilinguals read in their native tongue.
Eva Van Aassche has studied 45 bilingual (Dutch-English) students as they read sentences in Dutch. The results showed that the subjects were faster at reading words that are similar in both languages. It suggests that when reading in their native tongue bilinguals still have access to words in their second language, which affects the way the native language is processed.
It could be evidence for an existence of an internal “switch” that turns on and off the interference of two languages in a bilingual brain.
For more information read on: BPS Research Digest: Second language changes the way bilinguals read in their native tongue