Author Topic: Differences in monolingual and bilingual people  (Read 5532 times)

Offline kchan47

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Differences in monolingual and bilingual people
« on: March 28, 2016, 04:41:34 AM »
How different does a monolingual person think and learn compared to a bilingual person?

I have always heard that people who know more than one language process information in a completely different way than people who can only speak one language.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Differences in monolingual and bilingual people
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2016, 05:15:18 PM »
The short (and not very interesting) answer is that people are people, and bilingualism (which is the norm when considering most cultures and communities) does not have any huge effects on cognition. On the other hand, there are obviously substantial differences from a cultural perspective-- monolinguals are less likely to understand other cultures or even be interested in people who speak other languages.

From a cognitive perspective, the main things that come to mind are:
1. There is no danger of children learning multiple languages, although around ages 4-6 (that is, when children start school in countries where the research has been conducted) they may be a little slower than their peers as they work out some of the social dimensions of using multiple languages and perhaps filling in some gaps in their knowledge (very rarely is bilingualism perfect, with each language acting as an exact functional equivalent in all domains). But they catch up pretty quickly and often do well (I believe there even may be some evidence for bilingual children doing better than monolingual peers in some domains).
2. In older adults, bilingualism has been linked to a lack of cognitive problems like dementia. For example:
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Offline Michelli Delmonico

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Re: Differences in monolingual and bilingual people
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2016, 10:02:05 AM »
This article is nice to know more things about it.

Offline Ritter

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Re: Differences in monolingual and bilingual people
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 05:13:56 AM »
As a child of immigrants from two different countries born in Sweden, I cannot really say I had any trouble learning Swedish despite not speaking it at home.

Observing friends and relatives, what often happens is that second generation immigrants become lacking in their parents' tongue and not in the one that is official where they were born.

Born and raised in Sweden, I obviously hear and use Swedish more than ny parents' languages and I cannot remember ever confusing one language for the other. However, as many other second gen imnigrants, I have to mix in Swedish words when speaking to my parents because I am not completely fluent.

Only difference I ever noticed between me and monolinguals is that I find it easier to learn new languages, to imitate them and to notice patterns and rules.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 05:18:10 AM by Ritter »