Is Bilingual Acquisition Beneficial?
Is Bilingual Acquisition Beneficial?
The idea that the acquisition of a second language posses a challenge in the cognitive ability of a child in the early ages is an issue that has been discussed in length over time. This is concerning the belief that monolinguals and bilinguals can have different development capabilities because of the advantages or disadvantages in their two experiences. The reason for choosing this topic as an essay question is the need to evaluate how language and cognition are interdependent in a child at this early stage. This assessment is in reference to the article titled Bilingual signed and spoken language acquisition from birth: implications for the mechanisms underlying early bilingual language acquisition.
The research questions will therefore look at how the relationships to the issues that relate to language acquisition affect the mental capabilities in children and to what extent. This will help in understanding how these issues create a difference in performance between monolingual students and bilingual students at an early age. In addition, the essay will look at the advantages and disadvantages of this early bilingual acquisition process or the failure to learn other languages. Lastly, the research will evaluate the conclusive findings and determine which side is more compelling especially concerning the ability or inability of a child to transfer skill and knowledge from one language to another. Overall, the essay seeks to evaluate the effects of learning multiple languages instead of one to the early development of a child and coming up with a decision on which side is more persuasive.
In today’s world, acquisition of bilingual languages has become the norm making it seem like children have the ability to learn two distinct languages fluently at an early age. However, research has shown that in most cases, this is not true. This is because a child learning to distinguish new things and a new environment may develop language confusion making the learning and communication process slower. This may be in reference to the introduction to two-classroom languages say, English and French or the learning of the child’s mother tongue at home and English at school. Many parents have sought advice concerning the above issue but other educational facilities have also raised concern over giving first time students schooling in any language other than the language used by the majority.
The reason behind the confusion may be that in the early stages of development of a child, the ability of a child to develop a particular input is centered on the public perception of an idea. Once there are many words describing the same thing, their reasoning becomes protracted due to the inability to switch from one language another as fast. Sorting out the input brought about by acquiring two languages shows that it may be difficult for a child to differentiate between two similar words with different meanings especially if both languages are taught as native vocabularies.
Looking at the opposite case scenario however, one may wonder whether learning one language is more beneficial compared to a bilingual scenario. This is because the issue of having two confusing or contradicting words is minimized and the child’s main input is only in relation to one language. In some cases, it may appear that this could result to faster language acquisition and lesser chances of confusion. However, the question as to whether limiting a child’s ability to reason in only one language affects the learning process is also raised. The argument here is that researchers have claimed that the acquisition of a second language enables the child to relate one issue in another language to the less understandable one thus improving the cognitive performance. Below is an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of the learning process in a bilingual context to identify whether it is more or less compelling as a better option for the child.
Advantages of Early Childhood Bilingualism
Certain studies have identified various advantages in bilingual children hence inclining to the assumption that they are indeed more advantageous to their monolingual counterparts. Contrary to common belief, research has shown that the assumed devastation in cognitive impairment improves much later to achieve an accelerated learning capability once the initial learning stages are achieved. This is because their ability to perceive certain aspects is now in two languages, which can relate to each other to create better understanding.
Secondly, once the vocabulary and the language input are at per in both languages, it is noticeable that the phonological awareness in bilingual children is higher than in monolingual ones. For instance, bilingual students are able to identify greater word attentiveness than their counterparts due to their understanding of the different speech sounds and sound changes. Generally, monolingual students are situation specific in this case, where they relate only to what they are taught firsthand yet the bilingual students have the ability to analyze a more generalized situation.
Disadvantages of Early Childhood Bilingualism
As earlier discussed, it has been deduced repeatedly that the apprehension of more than one language interferes with that ability of the child to learn fast or to keep up with the monolingual students. This kind of conclusion may be made by evaluating the performance of a foreigner or a minority in a country like America, against a native speaker. Indeed, the process is slowed down and the student feels less confident and unsure of their ability to express themselves in speech affecting their level of understanding significantly.
However, there are certain socio-cultural issues that play a major role in some of these scenarios and this outside factors could be the reasons for the impaired learning process. This shows that once the slight communication barrier is overcome, the student becomes no different from the others. In most cases, the performance is actually better because the students have more ways to look at an issue compared to the monolingual student. This is therefore an indication that the slowness in the learning process is but a small milestone that can be easily handled.
The ability to learn two languages at a young age may be challenging but in many ways, it is a mind stimulating process. The input process, which is the crucial part of the learning process, may prove challenging due to the many words and ways that a bilingual student can interpret the situation. This however, does not entirely mean that the student is unable to perform as well as his or her counterparts rather it shows that the process of understanding the different sounds and pronunciations is longer. In this paper, this is the main disadvantage that has been associated with the performance of bilingual students. This paper shows that most of them are students from families that have other affecting social-cultural aspects that may play a part in their performances. Regardless, the advantages are more compelling and therefore this paper concludes in support of the benefits of bilingual acquisition.
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