Podcast: Prof Antonella Sorace talks about ‘How Children Learn Two Languages’
Professor Antonella Sorace gives a talk on ‘How Children Learn Two Languages’ and explains the various myths which exist within families surrounding how to best bring up your children in a multilingual household.
Having spent a long academic career researching the area of language learning and the effects of bilingualism on the brain, she now wants to communicate the cutting edge findings which make us rethink how we undervalue the learning of languages as well as how we approach learning them.
There are more and more bilingual families in many European countries but early child bilingualism is often still surrounded by false beliefs, misconceptions, or simply lack of information. However, recent research on bilingual language and cognition shows that bilingualism gives children many advantages.
Bilingual children not only become more aware of different cultures and other people: they also tend to be better at ‘multitasking’ and focusing attention, are more precocious readers, and find it easier to learn other languages. These benefits are also found in adults who were raised bilingual and may even protect against cognitive decline in aging. Research therefore provides powerful arguments for maintaining minority languages and for encouraging bilingualism in young children.
Antonella Sorace, who is Professor of Developmental Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh and the parent of bilingual children, is founder of Bilingualism Matters which has the purpose to illustrate some of the linguistic and non-linguistic advantages of bilingualism with clear examples of how the mind of a bilingual child works. As an organisation it offers research-based advice, information and resources to families and teachers so that more and more children have the opportunity to grow up with two languages.