Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Bilingual Brain

This week's Science Times posted an article entitled "The bilingual brain from early infancy on," by Dr. Perri Klass.  Not that I truly fear for Raphaela's communications skills, but this piece certainly put my mind at ease.

Essentially, Klass relates research which states that a monolingual child loses the brain's plasticity for language between 10-12 months, whereas a baby at the same age, exposed to two languages, was able to continue to  discriminate nuances in both languages.  This skill applies both to the spoken word, and the ability to discern a difference in speech simply by observing body language and facial expression.

Bilingual babies are more cognitively flexible, and have an easier time multi-tasking as they get older, because their brains are more activated and cooperative from lobe to lobe.

While it may be true that at the moment, Raphaela seems less able to construct complex sentences in Hebrew compared to her peers at Gan, in one year she will have two full languages, and her English will serve her well as an adult on an English-dominated planet.

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