Дідик Олена Олександрівна

Харківський національний педагогічний університет ім.Г.С.Сковороди

Викладач кафедри Практики англійського усного та писемного мовлення

Україна, Харків


  Анотація: В статті розглянуто важливе питання щодо впровадження білінгвізму в ранньому дитинстві. Незважаючи на переваги раннього білінгвізму та спробу його впровадження в освітніх закладах деяких країн, є певні проблеми, які повинні бути взяті до уваги.

  Ключові слова: bilingualism, children, early stages, language acquisition.


  It’s a well-known fact how important the early years are for children’s educational and personal development. That is the reason why bilingual education in early years can be a solid platform for life-long love of languages and bilingual proficiency. Children who hear and acquire two languages build linguistic knowledge at a rate comparable to or greater than is observed in children who hear and acquire only one language. But the language growth of bilingual children, like their language input, is divided between two languages. The result is that young bilingual children tend to lag behind monolingual children of the same age in vocabulary and grammatical development when measured in each language separately. Many researches prove that early years are the best time to foster bilingualism. The European Commission stated: 

  Opening children’s mind to multilingualism and different cultures is a valuable exercise in itself that enhances individual and social development and increases their capacity to empathize with others. […] As young children also become aware of their own identity and cultural values, Early Language Learning can shape the way they develop their attitudes towards other languages and cultures by raising awareness of diversity and cultural variety, hence fostering understanding and respect. [7, p.7] 

  The question regarding the potential impact of bilingualism on children’s development has always been important, but has increasingly emerged as a crucial concern for modern societies. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand the impact of these language backgrounds on children’s cognitive and educational futures. At a very young age, a child learns to distinguish and develop the differences between languages used with them and around them. Families should continue to use their home language, talking to their child from the earliest age. This is central for the child's communication, social, and emotional development. Language feeds the brain and links us to our family, our community and our friends. This is vital for a young child's sense of self. 

  Language acquisition is very similar for monolingual and bilingual children, although some experts view bilingualism as a specialized case of language development. Children growing up in homes where two different languages are spoken usually acquire both languages simultaneously. Although their acquisition of each language may be somewhat slower than that of children who are acquiring a single language, their development in the two languages combined is equivalent to that of monolingual children. Bilingual language learners proceed through the same patterns of language and speech development as children acquiring a single language. Their first words usually are spoken at about one year of age, and they begin stringing two words together at about age two. Even if the two languages do not share similarities in pronunciation, children eventually master them both.

  There are two major patterns of bilingual language development, both occurring before the age of three. Simultaneous bilingualism occurs when a child learns both languages at the same time. In the early stages of simultaneous bilingual language development, a child may mix words, parts of words, and inflections from both languages in a single sentence. Sometimes this occurs because a child knows a word in one language but not in the other. Some bilingual children initially resist learning words for the same thing in two languages. Children also may experiment with their two languages for effect. During the second stage of bilingual language development, at age four or older, children gradually begin to distinguish between the two languages and use them separately, sometimes depending on where they are. One language may be used less formally to talk about home and family, whereas the other language may be used more formally, perhaps for relating events that took place outside the home. Often children find it easier to express a specific idea in one language rather than the other. Bilingual children also go through periods when one language is used more than the other. Some children may begin to prefer one language over the other, particularly if that language is spoken more frequently in their home or school. Bilingual children usually are not equally skilled in both languages. Often they understand more in one language but speak more in the other. Sequential bilingualism occurs when children use their knowledge of and experience with a first language to rapidly acquire a second language. The first language may influence the way in which they learn and use their second language. Learning the second language is easier for children if the sounds, words, and vocabulary of the languages are similar.

  Bilingual language development usually proceeds more smoothly when both languages are introduced early and simultaneously. When the parents each use a different language with their child, the child is less likely to experience language confusion.

  Research indicates that there are numerous advantages to bilingualism. Bilingualism has been reported to improve the following skills:

• verbal and linguistic abilities

• general reasoning

• concept formation

• divergent thinking

• metalinguistic skills, the ability to analyze and talk about language and control language processing

  These abilities are important for reading development in young children and may be a prerequisite for later learning to read and write in a new language. [14]

  As a consequence of the increased attention given to bilingualism and improved methodology, most research indicates a positive effect of bilingualism on children’s cognitive development. Some studies have demonstrated an increased cognitive flexibility; others have suggested better results on tasks requiring high control, selective attention control, enhanced executive control and inhibitory control, among others. All these factors have been investigated by researchers and supported by empirical evidence. Moreover, literacy also appears to affect academic results in a positive manner. Therefore, there appears to be a strong link between balanced bilingualism and greater academic results. Despite most studies illustrating positive effects of bilingualism on cognitive development, some demonstrate the opposite where the outcome is negative. Mostly these negative effects appear to affect children’s vocabulary as bilinguals have been reported to have poorer vocabulary than their monolingual pears.[10].

  It seems that bilingualism has many complicated factors which need to be taken into consideration when investigated. The study of bilingualism and its effects on children’s cognitive development still remains a fascinating subject with many implications which researchers struggle to identify



1. Beaudoin, M. (1998). Syllable division in French as a second language. The Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue canadienne des langues vivantes, 54, 354-375.

2. Birdsong, D. (2006). Dominance, proficiency, and second language grammatical processing. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 46- 49.

3. Bullock, B., Toribio, J., Gonzбlez, V., Dalola, A. (2006). Language dominance and performance outcomes in bilingual pronunciation. Proceedings of the 8th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2006), ed. M.G. O’Brien, C. Shea, & J. Archibald, 9-16. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

4. Cutler, A., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J. (1992). The monolingual nature of speech segmentation by bilinguals. Cognitive Psychology, 24, 381–410.

5. Daller, M.H., Yildiz, C., de Jong, N.H., Kan, S., Basbagi, R. (2011). Language dominance in Turkish-German bilinguals: Methodological aspects of measurements in structurally different languages. International Journal of Bilingualism, 15, 215-236.

6. Dunn, A.L., & Fox Tree, J.E. (2009). A quick, gradient Bilingual Dominance Scale. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12, 273-289.

7. European Commission. (2011). Commission staff working paper. European strategic framework for education and training. Language learning at pre-primary school level:Making it sufficient and sustainable. A policy handbook.

8. Favreau, M. & Segalowitz, N. (1982). Second language reading in fluent bilinguals. Applied Psycholinguistics, 3, 329-341.

9. Flege, J.E. & Liu, S. (2001). The effect of experience on adults’ acquisition of a second language. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 23, 527-552.

10. Flege, J. E., Mackay, I. R. A., & Piske, T. (2002). Assessing bilingual dominance. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 567–598.

11. Golato, P. (2002). Operationalizing “language dominance” in late bilinguals. Northeastern Illinois University Working Papers in Linguistics.

12. Grosjean, F. (1989). Neurolinguists, beware! The bilingual is not two monolinguals in one person. Brain and Language, 36, 3-15.

13. Grosjean, F. (1998). Transfer and language mode. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1, 175-176.

14. Grosjean, F. & Miller, J.L. (1994). Going in and out of languages: An example of bilingual flexibility. Psychological Science, 5, 201-206.

15. Hakuta, K., Bialystok, E., & Wiley, E. (2003). Critical evidence: A test of the critical-period hypothesis for second-language acquisition. Psychological Science, 14, 31-38.

16. Langdon, H., Wiig, E. & Nielsen, N. (2005). Dual dimension naming speed and language-dominance ratings by bilingual Hispanic adults. Bilingual Research Journal, 29, 319-336.

17. Lim, V.P.C., Rickard Liow, S.J., Lincoln, M., Chan, Y.K. & Onslow, M. (2008). Determining language dominance in English-Mandarin bilinguals: Development of a self-report classification tool for clinical use. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29, 389-412.

18. Marian, V., Blumenfeld, H., & Kaushanskaya, M. (2007). The Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire (LEAP-Q): Assessing language profiles in bilinguals and multilinguals. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 50, 4, 940-967.

19. Piller, I. (2002). Passing for a native speaker: Identity and success in second language learning. Journl of Sociolinguistics, 6, 179-206.

20. Rah, A. (2010). Transfer in L3 sentence processing: evidence from relative clause attachment ambiguities. International Journal of Multilingualism, 7, 147-161.

21. Talamas, A., Kroll, J., & Dufour, R. (1999). From form to meaning: Stages in the acquisition of second-language vocabulary. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 2, 45–58.

22. Treffers-Daller, J. (2011). Operationalizing and measuring language dominance. International Journal of Bilingualism, 15, 1-17.

23. Tremblay, A. Proficiency assessment standards in second language acquisition research: “Clozing the gap.” Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 33, 339–372.