Research Related to Learning a New Language

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Updated: Jun 22, 2022
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There have been many research findings when it comes to the topic of bilingualism. Whether it is how it comes with good or bad things, how it can affect your cognition and even what it takes to possibly learn a new language. We have seen the positives with being bilingual and that is having better cognitive abilities, different parts of the brain can be seen differently and even in the neurological area we have seen some changes. Some positive that we have seen from research on the person’s cognitive abilities are how the brain has better task switching and it has better attention abilities instead of those who are the monolingual brain.

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This can happen due to the fact that the person has developed the way of using more than one language (Marian & Shook, 2012). Being able to be bilingual is very important especially because of where you might live or the type of job that you want to communicate in. We have seen that being able to communicate with others has helped our skills in multitasking even though there may be some distractions and your attention may be somewhere else. But having this ability to communicate with others and showing how you can get along with other people can benefit you in the future. From the research done on the neurological processing we have seen that executive functions have not limit the brain network to being able to process and use the different languages you know (Marian & Shook, 2012). Researchers have used different methods to understand how the brain works when being able to speak and understand more than one language. Some have used brain scans, MRI, fMRI to understand what part of the brain can be most affected when doing tasks that have to do with language. Most have seen the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to be the most active because it is linked to having skills like inhibition and attention.

To be able to keep how your cognition works today for you and how it can work in the future when you are older, bilingualism has also played a role in that too. Another study has shown that with age being able to speak two or more languages has helped the cognition of older people so that with time it does not decrease for them. Different changes in the brain regions is important because it gives you an idea of the balance between both languages and how it can be used on executive functions of the brain. Executive functions of the brain have shown that these types of processes include the person’s attention and inhibition. (Marian & Shook, 2012). It has also been seen that a bilingual brain is always being active and using different control mechanisms when doing any kind of speech and listening. It has shown to strengthen not only the brain but also the different parts of the brain associated with it.

Some advantages that we have seen with bilingualism is the brain’s flexibility and the strength it has when learning a new language. Being able to learn a new language is hard especially if you start at an older age. I have seen people struggle in college who have to do a language and it seems too hard to learn at first. Having to program your brain to understand new words and mnemonics that it comes with can be a struggle for those who are older. With the brain’s flexibility we have seen that the concept of math and word problems are easier than those who are monolinguals (Zelasko & Antunez, 2000). And with this flexibility we have seen that the person can have better thinking, focus, remembering and making decision skills can come in handy too.

Another advantages a person may have is the ability to read and think in different languages and to understand other people who speak more than one language which has been crucial in the learning process for others. We have seen how in different countries the number one language people learn is English. We have seen how English is a universal language that people can use to communicate with others and understand each other. We have how now in days most of the schools have technology-based studies and how they have to use a tablet or computer to do assignment or even learn the curriculum from there. Children who are able to learn and read from school or home have a better chance at learning more than one language because of how advance their knowledge can become.

Some of the disadvantages that have been shown in research is that bilinguals have difficulties in learning the new language and have a slower way in the progress of understanding and speaking the language. Slower rates have seen that people struggle with being able to process and understand more than one language and having difficulty in switching from one language to the other. In children who speak more than one language it has been seen that they have a smaller use of vocabulary words and semantics (Espinosa, 2015). Sometimes understanding two languages because you may know the words in English and not in Spanish or you may know the term in Spanish but not in English.

It has been known that there are different theories and approaches one can do to acquire a new language and learn the new way to speak it. Some have used the interactionist approach which combines the ideas of sociology and biology that can explain how another language can be developed to learn. Another way is the Theory of second language acquisition that was created by Stephen Krashen. It has described how this approach you do not need such long uses of grammatical rules and doesn’t need drills that will not benefit the person (Krashen, 1988). He does not believe that there is a correlation with how one can acquire one language and start to learn a new one. In his research he stated that the best ways to learn a new language is supply comprehensive input in low anxiety problems, for it to contain messages that can be useful to those other students learning the language. His methods have shown that you do not need to start learning a new language from early on, but it prepares you to start with some improvements that come with supplying communicative and comprehensible production for those individual.

With the recommended approaches from above we have seen that it can increase cognitive function because you are learning a new language and then using it on a daily basis with your family and work. It can increase different function in a professional setting because not in days most jobs want you to be able to speak two languages to get the job. Considering where I am from, I have a lot of Spanish speaking people around. It has been seen that different jobs would like you to communicate in both languages to have more chances of having different clients and patients. This could even include managers or people with higher positions to succeed more in the world. Having this type of cognitive function has seemed to benefit many because being able to learn more than one language means more business and relationships that they can build.

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Research Related to Learning a New Language. (2022, Jun 22). Retrieved from