The Effects Of Bilingualism On Language Developmen

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The effects of bilingualism on language development in children are examined. Theories suggest that bilingual children are able to learn a second language after the first is mastered. One of the reasons behind this is that the child has already developed the nonverbal concept of the word (because the child is already using it in the primary language), so only the verbal concept must be constructed. It has been shown that balanced bilinguals are more cognitively and linguistically flexible. However, unbalanced bilinguals generally show mixed results. In California, bilingualism is a big issue. Most people in California are not bilingual, but there is a large minority that does speak a second language. Of those second languages, Spanish is by far the most widely spoken, mainly because of California's close proximity to Mexico. Bilingualism is a hot topic in California's political arena as well. The move to halt bilingual education is a prime example of this. Although a large portion of the population speaks a second language, such as Spanish, there are those who trumpet the benefits of monolingualism in schools. They cite the opinion that children will be confused in school and will not be able to differentiate between the two languages. The purpose of this paper is to explain the different effects that bilingualism affects cognitive processes, specifically language development. When talking about how bilingualism affects language development, we are speaking of cognitive implications. Bialystock and Hakuta (as cited in Seifert, Hoffnung, & Hoffnung, 1997) found that when children learn two languages equally well, and both languages are treated with respect among parents, teachers, and friends alike, the child's cognitive development is improved. Apparently, if the child is able to use both languages interchangeably, then they are considerably

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