Where possible, it is always advantageous to choose to raise children to be bilingual over monolingual, ignoring common myths and prejudices about the matter. Just hearing a child speak two different languages is a fascinating thing, so to have all the other benefits of raising children to be bilingual is certainly worth it. Remember that it isn’t an easy task. Helping children acquire and actively speak two languages requires effort but the hard work will always pay off.
A recent study by researchers Ferran Pons and Laura Bosch, along with David Lewkowicz of the monolingual study, created a hypothesis that bilingual infants may use more audiovisual speech cues than monolinguals in order to process two languages contemporarily.
It was found that at different ages, the bilingual babies looked longer at the mouth when people were talking than monolingual babies who looked at both mouth and eyes in equal portions. These results interestingly show that bilingual babies are already more stimulated to develop important parts of the brain than their monolingual counterparts.
Recently, studies on bilingual babies have been quite popular and a lot of myths have been proven wrong, such as the all time favourite, “the children will get confused” having to deal with twice the amount of linguistic input or that they will suffer in other areas of development as a cause. In all cases, parents can breathe a sigh of relief as it has been proven that if children are developmentally able, the cognitive resources necessary for differentiating between two or more languages are not functioning at the expense of other areas of cognitive development.
This evidence goes to show that exposing babies to two different languages from birth in the hopes of helping them acquire both languages stimulates their brains to go that extra mile, and this can only be advantageous for their cognitive development as well as their future linguistic skills.