Page 15 - Pearson English
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                     Is a bilingual world a better one?

            Text: Marcos Mendonça

                    Bilingualism can benefit people both professionally and cognitively, and it can also benefit
                   them socially. It stands to reason that a person who is able to speak two or more languages is
                                better equipped to socialize with others who are also bilingual.

             A  bilingual  person  is  more  likely  to  have  friends  from   others: They have to think about who speaks which language
             foreign countries, so they’re usually more understanding   to  whom,  who  understands  which  content,  and  the  times
             of  other  cultures.  Several  studies  show  that  bilingual   and places in which different languages are spoken.
             children can be better at communication than monolin-  Interestingly,  they  also  found  that  children  who  were  not
             gual children. One of the experiments was published in   bilingual but had been exposed regularly to another langua-
             the journal Psychological Science:              ge were just as talented as the bilingual children at this task.
             "We took a group of children in the United States, ages 4 to 6,   Bilingual children also develop better global and multicultu-
                                                             ral perspectives.
             from  different  linguistic  backgrounds,  and  presented  them
             with a situation in which they had to consider someone else’s   Learning a language often means learning about the culture
             perspective  to  understand  her  meaning.  For  example,  an   associated  with  it.  Children  who  are  familiar  with  several
             adult said to the child:                        cultures will become familiar with the strengths and weaknes-
               “Ooh,  a  small  car!  Can  you  move  the  small  car  for  me?”   ses of each. In turn, they’ll likely find it easier to understand
                                                             and be more accepting of people from other cultures.
             Children could see three cars — small, medium and large —
             but were in position to observe that the adult could not see   According to a research paper from Osaka Jogakuin College,
             the smallest car. Since the adult could see only the medium   children who are bilingual and bicultural from a young age
             and  large  cars,  when  she  said  “small”  car,  she  must  be   may not adopt exactly the same proportions of each culture;
             referring to the child’s “medium.”              rather by trial and error, they’ll decide what works best for
                                                             them. This process may not always be a conscious decision
             They found that bilingual children were better than mono-  — they’ll choose which cultural elements to adapt simply by
             lingual  children  at  this  task.  If  you  think  about  it,  this   experiencing the elements of both.
             makes intuitive sense. Interpreting someone’s utterance   Bilingual  children  maintain  a  strong  sense  of  their  own
             often requires attending not just to its content, but also to   identity while developing sensitivity towards other people
             the surrounding context. What does a speaker know or   and cultures.  Since bilinguals need to be aware of which
             not  know?  What  did  she  intend  to  convey?  Children  in   language  to  speak  in  which  situation,  a  bilingual  child  is
             multilingual  environments  have  social  experiences  that   more aware of the needs of the listener. Personally, I believe
             provide routine practice in considering the perspectives of

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