Bilingualism or bilingualism refers to the ability of some people to speak two languages. Those who have two languages are called bilinguals, and who knows them even more – polyglots. It is believed that language is a function that determines the social grouping. Thus, bilingualism means a person’s belonging to several social groups.
Not surprisingly, parents are trying to teach their children several languages at an early age. This may be a step in the future, and maybe in the family and the father and mother speak several languages. But psychologists and educators are arguing about this issue. Is it harmful or useful for a growing and fragile brain and psyche? In this issue, several myths have been formed, which we will consider.
Learning the two languages is harmful to the child, because it only reduces the child’s intelligence.
He will cease to receive new, general knowledge, and will only deal with speech perception. This myth arose on the basis of studies conducted in the US about 40 years ago. True, they were not well-planned, which led to a distortion of the results. During this time, new research appeared under the supervision of the best specialists and teachers. It was proved that bilingualism in children does not in any way lead to a decrease in intelligence. The results even showed that such students, on the contrary, have higher mental indices. Bilingual children have better developed thinking, memory, they are better at understanding mathematics. Studies have shown that the initial results were obtained at the time of mass migration to the country. At that time, the intellectual abilities of bilingual children really suffered. But at the heart of this lay not the study of the second language, but the difficult life situation around, the frequent stresses, usual for the immigrant family, difficult domestic and social conditions. Then the test children of the second language generally did not know well, experiencing difficulties with communication. It was not possible to make them bilingual in the first place.
The child with this training will start to get confused in the languages.
Many parents notice that children growing up in a bilingual environment can use words from different languages during the initial stages of communication in one phrase. This is understandable, because some words have easier pronunciation or are simply shorter than their counterparts from another language. Such a reaction is quite normal for a child, it seems to be protected from a mental stream. However, this phenomenon is only temporary, passing with age. Naturally, this will happen only when learning languages from birth. In addition, some words, say, in English Russian analogues do not have. In this case, the confusion of languages is understandable and justified.
A bilingual child will have logopedic problems.
Do not substitute concepts. Problems with the diction of the child are in no way connected with his bilingualism. This is a consequence of stress, a difficult situation in the family, when a child is forced to speak in another language. Guilty can also be the imprudent introduction of a student into a new language environment for him. In this case, parents should be as sensible as possible, doing the right and correct actions step by step. After all, the kid must avoid stress, pressure and unrest. Recent studies have shown that the difference in the pronunciation of sounds on the contrary, positively affects the development of the child’s speech apparatus. As a result, his speech in both languages becomes more clear, and diction – more pronounced.
The second language should begin to be taught only when the child already has a good command of the native.
This is a fairly common misconception. If a child from his birth, in an atmosphere of warmth, love and responsiveness will learn at once not even two but three languages, then the parents will get a good result from such training. And if by force to force the child to speak in one or another language, this will lead to stress, and subsequently to a number of violations of the speech therapy.Unfavorable on the child’s psyche, his sharp immersion from his native monolingual environment to another language community will also be affected. With children to comprehend everything new must be gradual, avoiding harsh steps, like “throwing a puppy in the water.” It is necessary to remember the principle of introducing complementary foods during breastfeeding. First the baby received food drops, then with small spoons. The same principle should be applied in this case.
If a child speaks two languages, then he will not feel comfortable in either of the two language spaces.
The student simply strayed between the two cultures, being unable to determine his place. Such myths are cultivated by those who have experienced similar problems, having fallen into a different language environment at adulthood. People live and communicate in a foreign language for themselves, experiencing problems with social adaptation. But among the children who grew up in a bilingual environment from a small age (from birth to 11 years), there are simply no such problems. Children easily relate themselves to two linguistic cultures and environments at the same time. After all, a new generation is emerging, global. But this happens provided that the language cultures are not initially hostile to each other. But this is a different matter.
A bilingual child constantly translates words from a language that knows worse by the one that gives the best.
This opinion is only for those who speak only one language. The fact is that all bilinguals can think in two languages, regardless of the situation or the speech situation. If it concerns an English-speaking person, or the situation, an event occurred in the English-speaking environment, then to realize this bilingual mentally resorts to the English language.
This bilingualism can be considered such a state of affairs when words from one language are not mixed with another.
If this were the case, then there could be no talk of any linguistic diversity in the world. After all, languages constantly penetrate each other, as a result of which lexical stock is constantly enriched with new elements. Even the most inveterate monolingians do not suspect that in their speech every day they use some words borrowed from other languages. Many of our “primordially Russian” words actually came from other nations. For example, the usual “pencil” and “barn” in fact have a Turkic origin. But if a child already from an early age is in a difficult situation for himself among foreign languages, and even without systemic education, then the speech development of a growing person is carried out spontaneously in a society similar to him. In this case, a person risks not to learn any language normally. Unfortunately, history knows many such examples.
Bilingualism is a fashionable entertainment exclusively for wealthy people.
This myth is common to most people who know one language. In fact, such a picture of the world is wrong. After all, people are constantly migrating, and the general language situation in the world today is such that the study of several languages is often a normal, and necessary means of existence. At the same time, the financial situation often does not play any role.
Knowledge of two languages will inevitably lead to a split personality.
This opinion is controversial. All of us, including monolinguists, to some extent have a verbal, and sometimes even a personal, bifurcation. One can take at least the fact that monolinguists at home and at work communicate on two completely different varieties of the same language. It turns out that a person differently identifies himself, as a person, in this or that environment. However, this behavior is normal, it is not necessary to talk about such a complex mental illness as a split personality.
To grow bilingual we must follow certain rules exactly.
It is usually said that at home it is necessary to completely forbid the use of a second language. After all, it is designed exclusively for a different language environment.Another technique involves the indispensable use of two languages at home, even if the parents are not carriers. As a result, a lot of rules have been created, they are adjusted to a specific life situation. But you can not follow the rigid canons, any rule can be broken if there is a need. The child is better to grow in a friendly atmosphere, spontaneously switching from one language to another than by compulsion and under pressure to follow the rules that have been read by parents. Nobody says that general patterns should be dropped altogether. Simply they should not indulge so zealously to disrupt the psychological world of the child and the whole family.
You can begin to learn a second language in three years, and at six.
There is no difference, because by the age of 14 the level of language proficiency will be the same. In fact, this is the first, superficial view. Practice shows that the sooner a child begins to learn a language, the greater will be his vocabulary. Speech in this case will differ with confidence and a wider range of concepts used.
After being in a monolingual environment for three years, a child can never become a bilingual.
Recent studies say that children who know two languages have entered a bilingual language environment at the age from birth to 11 years. But this indicator is very individual. It is necessary to take into account the circumstances of life of each student. Moreover, if the language, even native, is not supported at all, do not have practice, then it gradually degrades and withers away. As a result, any bilingual has every chance to transform into monolingua.
Bilingualism is just a pleasant exception, but monolinguals are the rule.
There has never been an accurate count of the number of bilinguals in the world. It is quite clear that this is a rather complicated procedure from a practical point of view, it is most likely never to be implemented. But it is reasonable to assume that more than half the world’s population is bilingual. Most of the readers of this text live in a country where monolingualism is the rule. But this sample of the world is very unrepresentative. There are many places on the planet where people are forced to speak several languages, in the case of national minorities, the native language simply does not coincide with the state language.
Good translators are obtained from bilinguals.
The profession of an interpreter is not as simple as it seems. It is not enough to know perfectly the languages, one must also have some other qualities. Therefore, automatically count bilingual to excellent translators is not worth it. Their translations are often angular and suffer from inaccuracies. The processing of the artistic text is rather complicated, because it contains various syntactic constructions and stylistic coloring, there are nuances in the translation of political speeches and negotiations. After all, a lot of attention is paid to half-tones and hints, but not every bilingual can realize it. But the profession of guide-interpreter to such people will be much simpler. In the general case, everything depends on the individual characteristics of a person, the development of his speech and education.