Growing up bilingual appears to have cognitive benefits – especially for children growing up in poverty

Justin Markussen-Brown

Science Direct recently brought an article about the effects of being raised in a multilingual environment. Assistant Professor Yang Hwajn discusses in the article how bilingualism can support executive functions in children. If you are raising bilingual children, this article might be an interesting read for you!

Parents who raise multilingual children are often interested and sometimes concerned about what consequences multilingualism might have on their child’s development. This interest can also be impacted by the country one lives in. In Canada, for example, it is considered to be quite positive and even prestigious to have more than one native tongue. In Denmark, on the other hand, the word tosproget (‘bilingual’) often carries negative associations with poverty or immigrant status. People arguing against a negative stigmatization of multilingualism often point out the fact that speaking multiple languages is a very useful and enriching thing (and I totally agree).

But the article published in Science Direct is interesting, because it focuses on the general cognitive benefits of being multilingual — such as the ability to concentrate. Professor Yang furthermore makes the point that multilingualism might have special benefits for children growing up in poverty, as these children tend to have lower cognitive skills.

I’ve linked to the article below. Enjoy!

Click here to read the article