Tag Archives: bilingualism

Brain Benefits of Being Bilingual


“Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.” – Dave Barry I have always envied those raised bilingually. Those who slip so easily from one tongue to another.(…)

Language switching


Have you ever wondered how bilingual people can switch between languages so easily? According to new research, it seems they have separate “sound systems”. The study, at the University of Arizona, looked at 32 Spanish-English bilinguals. It tested them on some ‘rare’ words in Spanish and English, finding that if participants heard the words in(…)

New language inspired by Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert has perhaps reached the pinnacle of his career – he’s inspired a language. Researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois needed to invent a new language for a study, and chose Colbert as the language’s inspiration. “Stephen Colbert has brought new words like ‘truthiness’ and ‘Lincolnish’ into the lexicon,” Marian said. “We had to(…)

When speaking a second language is a problem

Most of the time it’s seen as desirable to speak more than one language. When isn’t it? When you’re hoping to become President of the United States. An interesting article at The New Republic explores the reasons why bilingualism becomes an issue in presidential campaigns: In 2004, it was John Kerry who was derided by(…)

Language of the future

What language will people speak in the future? That’s the subject of a chapter from new book “The Language Wars: A History of Proper English” by Farrar, Straus and Girous, extracted at Salon.com. English currently continues to dominate as the lingua franca of business and popular culture and it’s widely used in other industries. It’s(…)

Bilingualism myths

An interesting interview at the Huffington Post with Professor François Grosjean aims to bust some myths about what it means to be bilingual. Professor Grosjean is a world recognised expert on bilingualism and Emeritus Professor of psycholinguistics at Neuchâtel University in Switzerland. He lists a number of myths about bilingualism, including that bilinguals have equal(…)

Bilingual ability may be lost by first birthday

Research from the University of Washington suggests that babies lose their bilingual ability as early as their first birthday if they are not exposed to different sounds. The study suggests that introducing two languages before the child can speak seems to be the best way to raise bilingual babies. By around a year old, the(…)

Happy Blogoversary!

How time flies… this is my 100th post for the Listen & Learn blog! The very first post was back on the 4th April 2010, welcoming everyone to the “all-new, super-shiny” blog. That means I missed the first “blogoversary” of the blog earlier this month, but I suppose it would be overkill to celebrate twice(…)

Does being bilingual mean you see the world in a different way?

The answer is yes, according to a new study at Newcastle University, England. Bilingual people think differently to monolingual people, according to researchers, with language use making the difference rather than proficiency. The study looked at Japanese and English speakers and tested their colour perception – useful because of the variation in ways different languages(…)

Speaking in Tongues

I was alerted to this film over at the Omniglot blog, and it looks really interesting. Speaking in Tongues follows four children as they attend immersion school in San Francisco. The children are native English speakers but learn to communicate in Mandarin and Spanish, two of the most spoken languages in the world. There’s a(…)