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.

Understanding the Bilingual Brain

One of the most exciting areas in bilingualism research concerns the bilingual brain. Professor Arturo Hernandez, who has published a new book on the topic, answers questions about his field and the crucial link that between the mind and the brain.

Bilingual Memory

What role does language play in how we remember our past? The famous novelist, Vladimir Nabokov, found out firsthand when he wrote his autobiography first in English, then in Russian, and finally in English again.

A Bilingual Challenge

Writing a book in one language is something special but writing another book, on the same subject, in your other language is even more special. Here is a personal testimony of this bilingual challenge.

Life as a Bilingual

The blog "Life as a bilingual" is more than three years old and it has attracted many readers interested in what it means to live with two or more languages. This is a short status report.

Cognitive Advantages of Second Language Immersion Education

The linguistic and educational success of second language immersion education is now well established but, until recently, far less was known about the progress made in cognitive skills by immersion children. Recent research enlightens us on this issue.

The Mysteries of Bilingualism II

Many aspects of bilingualism have been described extensively at the linguistic level but some still need to be accounted for fully at the cognitive and neurolinguistic levels.

Discovering Thanksgiving

When you come to a new country, differences in the way people live, work and socialize are often quite visible. But other aspects, engrained in the host culture, are hidden, and you have to be introduced to them. This is how a family discovered Thanksgiving.

From Second Language Learning to Bilingualism in Schools

Learning a second (or foreign) language has been possible in schools since the beginning of education. For a long time, however, it was just a subject matter learned in a rather formal way. Now interesting new approaches are being used to develop bilingualism and biliteracy in schools.

The Bilingual Mind

Learning another language may reshape cognitive processes such as perception, categorization, memory and self-perception, and thereby reorganize the structure of the mind. Dr. Aneta Pavlenko answers questions about her new book which addresses the intriguing relationship between language and thought in bi- and multilinguals.

Perceptual Insensibility in a Second Language

It is a well-known fact that producing the correct gender of nouns is sometimes difficult for speakers of a second language. But can they nevertheless make use of this cue when they are listening to speech? A study examined this and found some fascinating results.