Navigation Links
Babies raised in bilingual homes learn new words differently than infants learning one language
Date:9/27/2007

Infants who are raised in bilingual homes learned two similar-sounding words in a laboratory task at a later age than babies who are raised in homes where only one language is spoken. This difference, which is thought to be advantageous for bilingual infants, appears to be due to the fact that bilingual babies need to devote their attention to the general associations between words and objects (often a word in each language) for a longer period, rather than focusing on detailed sound information. This finding suggests an important difference in the mechanics of how monolingual and bilingual babies learn language.

These findings are from new research conducted at the University of British Columbia and Ottawa. They appear in the September/October 2007 issue of the journal Child Development.

Immigration, official language policies, and changing cultural norms mean that many infants are being raised bilingually. Because nearly all experimental work in infant language development has focused on children who are monolingual, relatively little is known about the learning processes involved in acquiring two languages from birth.

The researchers sought to determine whether the demands of acquiring more sounds and words lead to differences in language development. An important part of language development is the ability to pay attention to native speech sounds to guide word learning. For example, English learners expect that the nonsense words bih and dih refer to different concepts because b and d are different consonant categories in English. By 17 months of age, monolingual English infants use native-language speech-sound differences to guide them as they learn words. Do bilingual infants show a similar developmental pattern?

The study revealed that bilingual infants follow a slightly different pattern. Researchers tested bilingual children ages 14, 17, and 20 months on their ability to associate two words that differed in a single consonant sound with two different objects. Experiment 1 included a heterogeneous sample of bilingual babies (i.e., those exposed to English and another language). Experiment 2 tested two homogeneous groups of bilingual infants (English-French and English-Chinese). In both experiments, infants were repeatedly presented with a crown-shaped object that was called bih and a molecule-shaped object called dih. They were then tested on their ability to notice a switch in an objects name (for example, the molecule-shaped object being called bih instead of dih). In all of the groups, the bilingual infants failed to notice the minimal change in the objects name until 20 months of age, whereas monolingual infants noticed the change at 17 months.

This later use of relevant language sounds (such as consonants) to direct word learning is due to the increased demands of learning two languages, the researchers suggest. Ignoring the consonant detail in a new word may be an adaptive tool used by bilingual infants in learning new words. Outside the laboratory, there is little cost to overlooking some of the consonant detail in new words, as there are few similar-sounding words in infants early vocabularies. By paying less attention to the detailed sound information in the word, bilingual infants can devote more cognitive resources to making the links between words and objects.

Extending this approach to word learning for a few months longer than monolinguals may help bilinguals keep up with their peers. Indeed, previous research has shown that bilinguals and monolinguals achieve language-learning milestones (such as speaking their first word) at similar ages and have vocabularies of similar sizes when words from both languages are taken into account.

Through studies with bilingual infants, we can gain a deeper understanding of language development in all infants, according to Christopher T. Fennell, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa and the lead author of the study. In addition, the findings emerging from such studies will have practical implications for parents who are raising their children in a bilingual environment by revealing how young bilinguals acquire language.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrea Browning
abrowning@srcd.org
202-289-7905
Society for Research in Child Development
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. How do babies understand language?
2. Test-tube babies show no emotional problems
3. Contraceptive pills may lead to deformities in babies
4. American scientists alter gene makeup of babies
5. Babies of the deaf communicate
6. Diabetics and their babies
7. Avoid stress to have strong babies
8. Hypothyroidism can affect babies
9. Babies Need Vaccination
10. Mothers with periodontitis may deliver premature babies
11. Babies of the deaf communicate
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... A newly released report reveals that ... access to trusted resources, both in face-to-face interactions and online. In “Heard, Not Judged ... concluded that the creative use of mobile digital devices can be an effective tool ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... The Radiosurgery Society (RSS), ... radiosurgery, is recognizing five medical residents and students for their outstanding contributions to ... The awards will be presented at the 2016 SRS/SBRT Scientific Meeting taking place ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Tuesday, May 24, Women's Excellence in Wellness, ... with Young Living Essential Oils, taught by Patti Dolan, RYT, a Young Living ... Yoga Flow is 6:30pm - 7:15pm followed by a small intro to the Oils ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... , ... WaterAid launched the #perioddrama campaign to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day on May ... the world who do not have access to a toilet, even when they’re on their ... of #perioddrama. The (sometimes hilarious) results help shine a light on the awkwardness that women ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Local chiropractor ... on September 21, 2016. Dr. Gerard, who holds a Doctorate of Chiropractic and ... organization promoting health and wellness in Third World countries where resources are limited. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... WASHINGTON , May 23, 2016 The World ... PrePex device to include adolescents aged 13 years, ... MedTech, can be offered for adult and adolescent males in ... Africa . PrePex was the first male circumcision device ... Circ MedTech,s CEO, Eddy Horowitz said: " The ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Purdue Pharma L.P.  today ... agreement with Egalet Corporation and Acura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... of the agreement the companies will exchange valuable ... three companies to develop and sell several opioid ... agreement reflects the commitment of Purdue Pharma to ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... 20, 2016 According to the 2016 ... increasing demand for affordable healthcare solutions as since the early ... rise. In countries like the US, the healthcare cost rose ... the consumer price index inflation rate stood at an average ... up to 3.62% during the same time period. This can ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: