Tag Archives: bilingual brain

Humans are born bilingual!

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

Reading in native tongue affected by second language

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


Thinking for speaking

You can probably remember George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The society described by Orwell uses a language called Newspeak, which serves as one of the tools of repression. The theory behind Newspeak is based on a belief that if humans cannot form the words to express the ideas underlying a revolution, then they cannot revolt. Newspeak is aimed at eliminating such words like ‘freedom’ or ‘revolution’, so that “a heretical thought … should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.”

Continue reading Thinking for speaking

Memories… in bilingual speakers

My past has raised its head and it is panting into my neck. Memories come in packs and surround me wherever I go, howling in the moonlight. Remember me? Remember how we laughed and quarreled and sat silently? Wait, what did you say then? Oh, yes. Hai detto che ami parlare con me. Ed io ho risposto, smiling, che certo che lo ami, perché sei sempre tu a parlare.

Continue reading Memories… in bilingual speakers