Acquiring two languages at the same time; children can without problems


Portrait of Hispanic boy

Despite the general belief that bilingualism in young children is burdensome, intellectually challenging and even causes language delay, empirical research reveals that such assumptions are absolutely unfounded. Indeed, dual language development takes different patterns from monolingual development at cognitive and linguistic levels, however, such differences mainly result in advantages of bilingualism in early childhood. It remains of crucial importance for educators and professionals to become familiar with recent research in order to rightly assess pre-school and school-age bilingual children. In fact, the wrong assessment could have negative consequences which affect the children not only in their childhood, but also in their adulthood. In order to avoid such a counter-productive prospect, the specific circumstances of each bilingual child must be taken into serious consideration.  Empirical research suggests that even children with language impairment have the capacity to acquire two languages at the same time. Bilingualism at early childhood should not be cause for concern, but a reason to rejoice as the child has the privilege to experience such a unique phenomenon. Future research should focus on whether school-age children will ever attain the identical native speaking fluency in their L2.

For more information write to raffaella@languagesalive.com

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