Two days ago, I published a post about Piccolingo, an European program aimed to promote early language learning for preschool children. Here, is an article I wrote several month ago on early language learning and its benefits.
One of the most ancient and long-lasting wrong idea about bilingualism is that children who are exposed to several languages at home face learning problems and are retarded in their acquisition of their mother tongue.
A new study of the Sissa (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati – International High School for Advanced Studies) just demonstrates the opposite : children early exposed to bilingualism at home develop earlier and better learning capacities than monolingual kiddies…
Experiments carried on by Professor Jacques Mehler and Agnes Melinda Kovacs show that bilingual young children cope easier with some verbal stimuli based tests.
In one of these tests, children have to associate a sequence of sounds with the position of images on a screen. For instance, when the baby hears a sounds sequence based on a AAB pattern (like loloba), a puppet appears on the left of the screen. When the sequence follows another pattern, ABA (like lobalo), the puppet appears on the right side of the screen.
Monolingual one year old children can only anticipate the apparition of the puppet according to the AAB sequel while bilingual kids are able to predict the position of the puppet in both sequences.
According to the researchers, bilingual children develop an early ability to take in consideration the important things in a determined context, while their monolingual colleagues are lost in a dark forest of details…
Theses children, also develop – even before they talk ! – a capacity to observe the tiny linguistic nuances of the parents languages and can learn foreign languages easier and faster than monolingual children.
A good news for language lovers, isn’t it ?