Many children in the world can learn two languages at the same time. In fact, in many places speaking and bilingualism is commonplace rather than an exception. Parents are also concerned about whether their children respond to language and vocabulary similarly to their peers.
Children learn two languages are reflected in the English language as quickly as children speak one language. This suggests that the ability to learn English in both groups is equal. In terms of vocabulary, bilingual children must divide their time in two languages. However, studies show that children who speak two languages are not inferior.
Another big concern is whether bilingualism can cause confusion. Part of this problem arises from the phenomenon of “transcoding language” – combining the two languages when speaking. Studies show that children who speak two languages ”transcribe” because adults around them do so. Researchers point out that “transcoding” is part of the normal language development process of bilingual children. And even that gives them additional cognitive abilities, the phenomenon known as “bilingual advantage.”
How is the bilingual advantage?
Continuing to shift focus to different languages creates some cognitive advantage. Research has shown that in both adults and children learn two languages, brain activity improves (it is easier to shift focus to different tasks and to solve problems faster). Bilingual people also have metalinguistic skills (the ability to think about language, understand how a language works). There is evidence that bilingualism will make learning the third language easier. In addition, the effect of language experience is believed to be protective against cognitive decline due to aging and Alzheimer’s.
If you want your child to know more than one language, it is best to start early. Even that can help the child to develop other cognitive abilities.