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
Executive Function
  • -To be better at focusing and filtering useful information.
  • -To have a greater capacity and ability to filter stimuli efficiently.
Cognitive Development
  • -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.
Social Development
  • -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.