Bilingualism -Andrea Ordonez

This course provides an overview about the advantages of bilingualism. 

Unit 1: Introduction

Definitions: Bilingualism vs. Bilingual


Bilingualism is commonly defined as the use of at least two languages by an individual (ASHA, 2004). It is a fluctuating system in children and adults whereby use of and proficiency in two languages may change depending on the opportunities to use the languages and exposure to other users of the languages. It is a dynamic and fluid process across a number of domains, including experience, tasks, topics, and time.  

Types of bilingualism

Simultaneous bilingualism

  • Simultaneous bilingualism occurs when a young child has had significant and meaningful exposure to two languages from birth. Ideally, the child will have equal, quality experiences with both languages.

Sequential bilingualism

  • Sequential bilingualism occurs when an individual has had significant and meaningful exposure to a second language, usually after the age of 3 and after the first language is well established. These second language learners are referred to as "English language learners" in U.S. schools.

The bilingual brain 

When a bilingual person hears words in one language, the other language also becomes activated. Scientists think that the brains of bilinguals adapt to this constant co-activation of two languages and are therefore different to the brains of monolinguals.

Bilingual people

Bilingual people

Bilingual people are those who grew up speaking two languages and are able to switch effortlessly between the two. If we take this as a starting point, we can ask the question: What particular psychological characteristics are found in these people? Or put differently, how does the bilingual brain work?

Unit 2: Advantages of being bilingual

Benefits of being bilingual

Benefits of being bilingual:

First of all, bilingualism promotes overall cognitive development because a bilingual individual encounters the world from two different language perspectives, which prevents them from having a limited experience. Plus, this extended way of thinking facilitates the approach to cognitive problems and higher levels of abstract thinking.

The Cognitive benefits of being bilingual

Research shows that bilingual individuals enjoy some decidedly physiological rewards for their linguistic capabilities, which aren’t always immediately noticeable. Please read the following article on this topic. 

Cognitive benefits of being bilingual

Becoming bilingual can change your life

7 Benefits of Being Bilingual That’ll Change Your Life

Knowing more than one language can give you a big boost professionally, and in today’s economy, that’s something everyone can use.

Learning a new language

Learning language is something we're born to do. It's an instinct we have, which is proven 

As children, we learn to think, learn to communicate and intuitively pick up an understanding of grammar rules in our mother tongue , or native language. From then on, we learn all new languages in relation to the one we first knew—the one that we used to understand the world around us for the first time ever.

Although language is something we learn, research has shown that the instinct to do so is present from birth. Not only are we inclined to process and adopt language, but it seems that the human brain has common linguistic constraints, regardless of the language we've learned. They say that children learn languages the best. But that doesn’t mean that adults should give up.