A recent article in Newsweek, Why it’s smart to be bilingual, shows some positive and negative elements of multilingualism. I didn’t know that those who know more than one language may have a reduced vocabulary in each language than monolinguals. Most of the polyglots I know are actually more educated and better spoken than monolinguals.
Here’s the start of the story:
On a sweltering August morning, in a classroom overlooking New York’s Hudson River, a group of 3-year-olds are rolling sticky rice balls in chocolate sprinkles, as a teacher guides them completely in Mandarin.
This is just one toddler learning game at the total–immersion language summer camp run by the primary school Bilingual Buds, which offers a year-round curriculum in Mandarin as well as Spanish (at a New Jersey campus) for kids as young as 2.
Bilingualism, of course, can be a leg up for college admission and a résumé burnisher. But a growing body of research now offers a further rationale: the regular, high-level use of more than one language may actually improve early brain development.