Are Bilingual Kids Smarter?
For years research has been conducted on the intelligence levels of bilingual kids. Knowing how to speak a second language has many advantages, and many studies suggests that bilingual kids are smarter than others.
In fact, there are some which even note the differences in how the brain develops with bilingual and monolingual kids.
5 Reasons Bilingual Kids are Smarter
While all children are different and develop their language abilities in various ways, here are some reasons why it is suggested that bilingual kids are smarter.
1. Bilingual Kids are able to process two languages from a very young age
Research shows that bilingual babies can already tell the difference between words in their two languages. That learning two languages at the same time enhances the cognitive control system well before the onset of speech.
One study showed that toddlers not only know that they are hearing two different languages, but they can tell them apart.
“They do not think that ‘dog’ and ‘chien’ [French] are just two versions of the same thing, they implicitly know that these words belong to different languages.” Said Casey Lew-Williams, an assistant professor of psychology and co-author of this study.
2. The brain of bilinguals has cognitive enhancements
Brains of bilingual kids are different to other children. Research on the brain shows that the brain of a child who speaks a second language has cognitive enhancements.
In fact in one study, brain scans showed that people who spoke only one language had to work harder to focus on a single word.
It also suggested that bilingual people are more efficient at higher-level brain functions such as ignoring other irrelevant information.
Could this mean bilingual kids are naturally smarter than others?
3. Bilinguals have two different sets of vocabulary.
Rather than just one way of communicating, bilingual kids can communicate in two. Speaking two languages means having double the vocabulary and double the means of communication.
Bilingual kids have more than one word to describe each object or feeling. They are not sacrificing one language to learn another, but gaining another skill. Each language a person speaks is a skill, and the more skills you have could suggest the smarter you are.
4. Bilingual kids are smarter in the classroom
Bilingual brains are constantly multi-tasking, switching from one language to another.
This helps children to be effective in tasks that involve problem solving. And we all know there is a lot of that needed in the classroom.
This may not in itself mean that bilingual kids are smarter than others, however it does say a lot for the intelligence levels of a bilingual child, and how their brain works.
5. Being bilingual means having another perspective
We often use the phrase “street smart” for kids that know what is going on around them. For children who have learned other skills outside of school. Basically having common sense.
Well bilingual kids could be considered naturally “street smart” in another way. They have another whole perspective. With languages comes culture and understanding of others. Bilingual kids could be considered smarter in this way.
Are Bilingual Kids Smarter?
There are numerous advantages to being raised with multiple languages. Additional articles that could be of interest include:
Whether you think bilingual kids are smarter or not, there is no denying the benefits of bilingualism and the advantages bilingual kids have in life. Raising a bilingual child isn’t the easiest road in life, but it is definitely worth it.
Read these Multilingual Family Stories for inspiration. Check out the Bilingual Kidspot Language Resources on the home page. Subscribe for related articles. Follow Bilingual KidSpot on Facebook and join our online community and support group.
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