The impact of late, non-balanced bilingualism on cognitive performance

Media reports on study by Bilingualism Matters researchers (January 2015)
Vega-Mendoza, M., West, H., Sorace, A., Bak, T.H. (2015). The impact of late, non-balanced bilingualism on cognitive performance. Cognition, 137, 40-46. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.12.008

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Does being bilingual make you smarter?

Research by Bilingualism Matters researcher Dr Thomas Bak featured in a discussion about bilingualism from Discovery Channel’s DNews.

Research article:
Bak, T. H., Nissan, J. J., Allerhand, M. M. and Deary, I. J. (2014), Does bilingualism influence cognitive aging?. Ann Neurol., 75: 959–963. doi: 10.1002/ana.24158

Antonella Sorace in het Parool Dutch newspaper

Dutch language interview and profile of Prof Antonella Sorace and Bilingualism Matters.

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Bilingualism Matters at the BBC

Antonela Sorace at the BBC studios

Earlier this summer, Bilingualism Matters director Professor Antonella Sorace travelled to BBC studios in London for a recording of world service programme The Forum. Professor Sorace was joined by bilingual writer Gustavo Perez Firmat, and Professor Ellen Bialystok from York University, Toronto. The three panellists discussed the effects of speaking more than one language on a child’s development and identity. The programme was first broadcast on 30 AUgust 2014, and is now available to listen to online.

Listen to the 45 minute discussion with journalist Bridget Kendall on the BBC site: BBC The Forum

While she was at the BBC, Professor Sorace was also asked to give a one minute pitch for an idea that could change the world for the better. Her idea was simple: a a prenatal belt that plays songs and poems in different languages.

Hear Professor Sorace explain more about how the belt would work, and why it would change the world, by listening to the Sixty Second idea to Improve the World podcast: BBC Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

Article: “Bilingualism makes you smart”

 

professor Antonella Sorace in front of Sardinia mapProfessor Antonella Sorace spoke to Sardinian newspaper L’Unione Sarda. The article, published on 1 August, discussed the evidence for cognitive advantages of bilingualism, and Professor Sorace’s work here at Bilingualism Matters.

Readers outside of Italy may not be aware that there is a Sardinian language, which is distinct from Italian. Someone who speaks Sardinian is not simply speaking Italian with a different accent – they are speaking another language. As such, many Sardinians are bilingual, speaking both Italian and Sardinian.

However, this wasn’t always the case. The article touches on something called the “Bregungia generation” –refering to the generations of Sardinians who considered it shameful to speak their own language instead of Italian. Thankfully, modern research is now helping to demonstrate that growing up speaking both Sardinian and Italian is an advantage, not a burden.

You can download an English translation (pdf file): 01-08-14 Bilingualism Makes You Smart translation

Or practice your Italian by downloading the original Italian article (pdf file): 01-08-14 i bilinguismo rende svegli

The experts’ guide to how to live longer

Dr Thomas Bak contributed to an article in the Guardian on how to live longer, outlining his recent research findings on how speaking another language could delay the onset of dementia symptoms by 4 years.

Read the full article here

Learning young, Antonella Sorace writes for the Scotsman

Antonella Sorace has written an opinion piece for the Scotsman outlining the importance of learning languages when young. Professor Sorace of Bilingualism Matters highlights the Early Learning of Chinese Project as an example of young language learning in action: primary school students across East Lothian have been learning Mandarin from native Chinese speakers. The Early Learning of Chinese project is a pilot project for the Scottish government’s 1+2 language programme, and is part of our wider commitment to support language learning and teaching in Scotland.

You can read Antonella’s article here.

To learn more about the Early Learning of Chinese Project, visit the Scotland China Education Network‘s site.

For more details on the Scottish government’s 1+2 languages plan, you can view the Languages Working Group report and recommendations.

Naked Scientists: does bilingualism affect a baby’s development?

magnetic letters on fridgeEvery week, the Naked Scientists get world-leading experts to answer a question from the general public. This week, Esther asked a question close to all our hearts: will raising her daughter as bilingual delay her development?

As Professor Antonella Sorace from Bilingualism Matters explained, the research suggests that speaking two languages will help, rather than hinder, a child’s development.

“Bilingual children tend to pick up other languages more quickly, and learn to read earlier than monolingual children”, says professor Sorace. But it’s not all about academic achievement.

“Bilingual children also find it easier to appreciate that other people have different perspectives and different points of view” – in other words, bringing up your child bilingual may help them become a better and more tolerant citizen in today’s multicultural society.

The bottom line? Don’t be scared of bilingualism. It’s a great opportunity for your child, one they will thank you for in the long term.

You can listen to the interview with Professor Sorace, or read the transcript, by paying the Naked Scientists a visit:
Naked Scientists: Bilingual Babies

 

Bilingualism Matters on Superquark

Bilingualism Matters features prominently in the Italian TV documentary series Superquark. Click below to play video on Firefox and Internet Explorer (video in Italian).

Interview in TESconnect – common misconceptions around language learning

“The founder of Bilingualism Matters and professor of developmental  linguistics talks about the common misconceptions around language learning  and why children should be taught another language as early as possible  Interview by Julia Belgutay” © TESconnect 24 May 2013

Click here for the entire interview.