Assessing Speech Perception and Comprehension in Bilinguals

When bilinguals need to have their speech perception and comprehension assessed clinically, how is it done? And what are the issues at stake?

Poetry in a Second Language

Once upon a time, in Renaissance Europe, multilingual poetry was not an exception but the norm. Was it also a secret tool for learning foreign languages?

What Does It Mean to Be Dominant in a Language?

An interesting concept in the study of bilingualism is language dominance. What does it mean? And does it depend, in part, on what a bilingual's languages are used for?

Living in Parts, Dreaming of Wholeness

Cuban-American author Gustavo Pérez-Firmat writes poetry in both English and Spanish. Today, he talks to us about the delights and challenges of writing in two voices.

What is Translanguaging?

Many teachers of bilingual children practice translanguaging in the classroom. But what is it exactly and what are its linguistic and cognitive underpinnings?

Inside the Bilingual Brain

Neuroscientists in Montreal link the strength of brain connections to language learning success, raising intriguing questions about the malleability of the human brain.

The Bilingual Advantage: Where Do We Go From Here?

The debate on the cognitive advantage of being bilingual has entered troubled waters with some researchers questioning its very existence. What does the future hold?

The Secrets of a Successful Language Learner

What are the secrets of successful language learners? What strategies do they use? Professor William Fierman answers questions about his unusual multilingualism.

The Person-Language Bond II

The person-language bond can be particularly strong in very young bilingual children. But how does it evolve over time? And do all bilingual children show it?

Do Bilingual Infants Have Better Memory?

As researchers continue to debate cognitive advantages of bilingualism, they develop increasingly more sophisticated methods to examine our earliest experiences. A recent study of infant memory suggests that bilingual babies display better memory and ability to generalize across different contexts than monolingual ones. But what about trilingual babies?

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation evokes different things to different people: a movie, an episode in TV series, a novel, a song, etc. But for those interested in bilingualism, biculturalism and second language learning, it is a language memoir of considerable importance that created a new genre. Its author, Eva Hoffman, kindly answers questions about her much acclaimed book.

Bilingual Minds, Bilingual Bodies

It has been known for some time that the minds of bilinguals adjust to the linguistic and conceptual demands of different languages. Could it also be that their bodies differ in the way they process emotions and actions?

When Bilingual Infants Look at People Talking

The attention that infants pay to talking faces when learning to speak, and the evolution of their behavior during their first year, is a relatively new topic in the field of child development. The differences, but also the similarities, that are found in the behavior of monolingual and bilingual infants are simply fascinating.

Language Learning in a Multilingual Country

What is everyday interaction like in communities where everyone speaks several languages? What language learning strategies do they use? What assumptions do they make about language learning? Dr. Leslie C. Moore answers questions about the two multilingual communities in northern Cameroon where she did her research and about her own language learning in the field.

Dementia, Later-Life Cognition and Bilingualism

A pioneering study that showed that bilingualism has a protective effect on the onset of dementia came out eight years ago. Since then, further studies have shown similar results but some have not. This said, it now seems clear that bilingualism, along with other factors, does have a positive effect on later-life cognition.

The Dark Side of the Recent Polyglot Hype

The recent media surge of interest in polyglots is a positive development but it has a darker side: by differentiating between 'regular' multilinguals and polyglots, journalists trivialize the complexity of the language learning process. To see if there is a difference between the two, we turn to Cleopatra, the celebrated polyglot of antiquity.

Falling in Love With a Culture and a Language, Part 2

People who fall in love with a new culture and language are always fascinating. Here we follow Jimmy Davis, an American songwriter and composer, best known for his song "Lover Man", who first went to France during World War II as a soldier and who finally settled there for good.

Can a Second Language Help You Learn a Third?

What role does your second language play in the process of third language learning? Is it an asset that facilitates and speeds up the process or is it an obstacle that interferes and slows it down?

How do Bilingual Infants Separate their Languages?

Infants who acquire two or more languages from birth have to distinguish and differentiate the spoken input they receive into distinct languages. Professor Janet Werker who has been at the forefront of research on this topic tells us how they do it.

What Languages Do Bilinguals Count In?

Is it true that bilinguals always count in their first language? And if so, are bilingual children at a disadvantage if they study math in a second language? New brain studies suggest that bilinguals are more flexible than previously thought.

One Person–One Language and Bilingual Children

A well-known approach used with children who are acquiring two languages simultaneously is for each parent to use his or her own language with their child. It is an appealing strategy with advantages but also some inconveniences. Researching into its modern onset a bit more than 100 years ago has revealed a surprising finding.

What Does it Mean to Think in a Second Language?

Does learning a second language make you think differently? Or do you have to think differently in order to speak a second language?

Can a First Language Be Totally Forgotten? II

There is new evidence that a first language that is forgotten is still present in the brain. Neural representations acquired early in life do not seem to be overwritten and can be shown to be present if the right approach is used.

Learning Languages in the Classroom and "in the Wild"

Key differences between second language learning in the classroom and naturalistic learning lie in the memory systems involved, and in the depth and nature of language processing.

Does Processing Language Differently Mean More Efficiently?

Current research is helping us understand in what way bilinguals are different from monolinguals when they process language and in what way they are similar. But where does efficiency come in? An example is taken from a study that has received world wide attention just recently.

Passing for a Native Speaker

Can second language learners ever attain native-like proficiency? Is there a critical period after which we can no longer become native-like in a second language? To answer these questions, we will look at the lives of two famous spies in light of some recent research.

Chasing Down Those 65%

Humans love numbers and bilinguals are no exception. For a long time, most researchers said that about half the world's population is bilingual but then 65% was proposed. Where does this percentage come from and is it possible?

Bilingual Cognitive Advantage: Where Do We Stand?

In the past few months, bilingualism researchers have engaged in a heated debate about the existence, scope, and sources of the bilingual cognitive advantage in several scholarly journals.

The Languages you Speak to Your Bilingual Child

Children who are being brought up with two or more languages need as much input as they can from each language. Parents can play a major role in this by choosing which language(s) they speak to them in the home.

Poetry and the Language of the Heart

Do we process emotions differently in our respective languages? An answer can be found in the language chosen by bilingual poets, in swearwords used by bilinguals, and in experimental studies of affective processing.