Recent Research on Language Development and Bilingualism


Are Some Brains Better at Learning Languages?
People who learn many languages may have different brains from the rest of us.

How does our brain change when we learn a new language?
Several different types of changes occur in the brain when one learns a second language (also known as L2 learning). Brain structures can be physically changed, electrical activity in the brain can change, and the location of that activity can change.

Cognitive Gains in 7-Month Old Bilingual Infants
A detailed study conducted at the Cognitive Neuroscience Sector of the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy gives a crucial insight into the advantages of raising young children in a bilingual environment. The study shows that bilingual infants demonstrate higher level "cognitive control", the ability to control and manage their reactions to stimuli, than their monolingual peers.
Read the full study here.

Read about the findings that symptoms of dementia can be delayed in bilingual people.
A lifetime of speaking two or more languages appears to pay off in old age, with recent research showing the symptoms of dementia can be delayed by an average of four years in bilingual people.

Children Under Three Can't Learn Action Words From TV -- Unless An Adult Helps
A study of American infants and toddlers that watch TV an average of two hours a day, programmes billed as educational. A new study finds that children under age 3 learn less from these videos that we might think unless there's an adult present to interact with them and support their learning

Use It Or Lose It? Study Suggests
Many of us learn a foreign language when we are young, but in some cases, exposure to that language is brief and we never get to hear or practice it subsequently. Our subjective impression is often that the neglected language completely fades away from our memory. But does “use it or lose it” apply to foreign languages.

Bilingual Infants Have Better Mental Control
Far from becoming confused; it seems that babies actually develop superior mental skills from being raised in a bilingual environment.

Bilingual Babies Are Precocious Decision-Makers
Getting to the nub of what is going on in a bilingual child’s brain, how a second language affects the way he thinks, and thus in what circumstances being bilingual may be helpful.

Bilingual Babies Get An Early Edge
Bilingual parents and the experience of hearing two languages may give babies an early learning advantage and all before they know how to speak.

Bilingual Households May Improve Infants' Cognitive Abilities
Early exposure to two languages can train the mind and improve its cognitive performance, not just linguistic abilities as had been believed.

Babies Can Tell Apart Different Languages With Visual Cues
Could you tell the difference between an English speaker and a French speaker just by looking at the movements of their lips? Babies have this ability at 4 and 6 months of age, but lose it by their eighth month.

Babies' Gestures Partly Explain Link Between Wealth And Vocabulary
Year-old toddlers who use more gestures tend to have more expansive vocabularies several years later, and vocabulary size tallies strongly with a child's academic success.

Read here about Dr. Judit Kovacs thoughts after visiting HDEE lessons in Hungary.
These thoughts are organized according to: Language development based on language acquisition, Learning based on activity, The Child as a meaning-maker, Perception as a way of children’s learning, The Role of Motivation.