Academic journal article American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal

Effects of Bilingualism on Personality, Cognitive and Educational Developments: A Historical Perspective

Academic journal article American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal

Effects of Bilingualism on Personality, Cognitive and Educational Developments: A Historical Perspective

Article excerpt

Abstract. From the first half of the 20th century, the question of whether bilingualism affects the individual has been discussed as a topic of essential investigation. Researchers have fallen into two main directions in answering this question. Some researchers claim that bilingualism is a negative phenomenon that has detrimental effects on bilingual. Recently, a number of researchers have produced evidence on the positive side that claim that bilingualism affects cognitive, personality, and educational developments. The study discusses these two views further regarding the three main dimensions. Then the study explains why the two views are so contradictory. The paper concludes that there is no a clearcut answer for the question of the paper namely, Is bilingualism a problem? However, although a lot of studies are contradictory and each one needs firm methodological grounds recent studies with implementation of advanced research technologies and methods tip the balance in favor of bilingualism.

Keywords: Bilingualism advantages, bilingualism disadvantages, intelligence and bilingualism, education and bilingualism, personality and bilingualism.

1 INTRODUCTION

The answer to the question of the paper can be discussed either at the individual level (e.g. whether multilingualism affects child's intelligence positively or negatively) or at the societal level (the suspicion shown by the people and governments toward the loyalty of the bilingual citizens because they can speak another language) (McLaughlin, 1978). However, in this paper my discussion will be about the effects of bilingualism at the individual level.

From the first half of the 20th century, whether bilingualism affect at the individual level has been discussed as a topic of essential investigation. Researchers have fallen into two main directions in answering this question. Some researchers claim that bilingualism is a negative phenomenon that has detrimental effects on bilingual. Recently, a number of researchers have produced evidence on the positive side that claim that bilingualism affects creativity and intelligence.

The paper will discuss these two views further regarding three main dimensions. They are as follows: bilingualism and intelligence, bilingualism and education, and bilingualism and personality. Then I will try to explain why the two views are so contradictory.

2 PERIOD OF NEGATIVE EFFECTS

In the first half of the 20 the century research on bilingualism was guided by the question of whether bilingualism had a negative effective on child. (Hakuta (1986) in Romaine (1989). Grosjean (1982) argues that until recently, many researchers agreed with the famous linguist Otto Jespersen, who expressed a negative opinion about the effect of bilingualism on the child's power of learning.

Some evidence against bilingualism was first based on personal intuition. Reynold (1928) in Saunders (1988) argued that bilingualism leads to language mixing and language confusion which in turn results in a decrease in intelligence and a reduction in the ability to think. Leo Weisgerber (1933) in Saunders (1988) also believed that bilingualism could impair the intelligence of a whole ethnic group and can be seen as something unnatural.

Then many studies have emerged to support the claims that bilingualism had negative effects on intelligence and cognitive ability. The results of such studies led the researchers to claim that bilingualism is a mental burden for bilingual children causing them uncertain and confused (McLaughlin, 1978).

Arsenian (1937) in McLaughlin (1978) noted that 60% of 32 studies carried in the United States reported evidence that bilingualism is an intellectual handicap; 30% reported that handicap, if it exists, is a minor one; and 10% found that no ill effects of bilingualism on intelligence. Sear (1924) in Romaine (1989) studied 1,400 7-14-year-old Welsh/English bilingual children in five rural and two urban areas of Wales. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.