What is Bilingualism?
Bilingualism is the ability in using two languages to communicate or ‘the mastery of two or more languages at a native-like level’ (Bloomfield’s, 1933). Bilingualism has been found to not only benefit individuals socially but also provide a linguistic advantage over monolinguals. Scientific research on bilingual individuals has also been found to have advantages on cognitive ability and skills outside of language.
Advantages of Bilingualism
- －To be better at focusing and filtering useful information.
- －To have a greater capacity and ability to filter stimuli efficiently.
- －To show greater mental flexibility, abstract thinking, abstract and symbolic representational skills, concept formation and independent use of words.
- －To exhibit enhanced sensitivity to verbal and non-verbal cues relative to monolingual children.
- －To have socio-cultural awareness: Bilingual individuals are exposed to difference in cultures, traditions, beliefs and people, which allows them to be more open to diversity.
- －To have a wider language repertoire, enhanced learning strategies and cognitive flexibility.