Advantages to being bilingual

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Advantages to being bilingual

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Bilingual or trilingual exposure does not hinder the process of language development at all. In fact, some recent research suggests that preverbal infants raised in a bilingual environment developed selective attention earlier than monolingual children. What is selective attention? These infants were able to suppress information that came from one language to listen to the other language, and this is something that monolingual children could not do. So bilingual or trilingual exposure gives an edge to babies in the developing of this selective attention or executive functioning in the brain. At the same time, an issue that is very important is that the baby must hear a sufficient amount of each language in order to become a speaker of those languages. Research has shown that if the baby's not hearing at least 25% of one language in a typical day, most likely the result will be passive bilingualism or trilingualism, where the child can speak one language but only understand the others.

Watch Video: Advantages to being bilingual by Simona Montanari, PhD, ...

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Simona Montanari, PhD

Professor

Simona Montanari is Assistant Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on language development and second language acquisition in childhood. She received a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California specializing in language development in monolingual and multilingual children. Dr. Montanari has published her research in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and she is regularly invited to present on early bilingualism and trilingualism locally and internationally. Dr. Montanari has also been involved in the creation and implementation of an Italian-English dual language program in the Glendale Unified School District, for which she continues to work as a consultant. Dr. Montanari has two trilingual and tri-literate daughters, six and seven years of age.

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