Culture Magazine

Bilingual Benefits

By V3rv0se

Do bilinguals benefit from speaking more than one language? Does your language change your personality?

This week at Harper Morgan English we’re talking about bilingualism. In his enchanting article [1], Robert Lane Greene talks about the possible benefits and drawbacks of raising children bilingually. His own son, four-year-old Henry, speaks both English and Danish and Robert gives examples of Henry’s language and also provides us with findings of different research which argue that bilingual children have vast benefits over monoglots.

In the past bilingualism was considered to be the cause of the low IQ of children whose parents did not speak English. Robert points out that the real reason for this was that these families were often very poor. It is also possible that these studies published findings to discourage bilingualism as it was seen as anti-patriotic.

Robert also gives examples of research that has found cognitive and emotional benefits of bilingualism. One study found that bilinguals could better block out distractions, while another determined that bilingual children had a better grasp of understanding someone else’s needs and intentions.

Another thing that Robert points out is how many believe that the language you speak affects your world view. He states that, although this is a romantic point of view to have, there has been some research into the way some languages force us to think about things we otherwise wouldn’t, such as formality in Russian, for example. Robert also states that some people see some languages as ‘warmer’ or more ‘serious’.

So, here are some things for you to consider;

If you speak more than one language, do you feel you benefit in any way? Or do you sometimes feel as though you are at a disadvantage in any way? If you speak only one language, how do you think you differ from bilinguals?

Do you believe that different languages have characteristics? How does English sound to you? What about Spanish? Do you think German is logical? Do you think your language can affect your world view? Is it possible that the language you speak can make you more tolerant or logical or fanciful?

As always we’re really interested in hearing from you. Comment, share and join the conversation.

[1] C1 + read here

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