Bilingualism boosts brainpower

Bilingualism is more than just having communication skills. Research suggests that it boosts brainpower.

"It's almost as if the monolingual child's brain is on a diet and the bilingual child's brain stretches to the full extent and variability that Mother Nature gave it to use language and exploit human language." -- Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto (Gallaudet Today, Spring 2012, p. 18.)

Myth: Learning more than one language from birth confuses children.

Many people express their concerns about it. The truth is that there is no evidence that bilingual acquisition leads to confusion, nor that bilingual acquisition leads to language delay. Rather it benefits brains.

Myth: Using sign language will hinder speech development.

Hearing people fear that using a signed language in deaf children will hinder speech development. Studies show no evidence of this. In fact, studies show that deaf children acquiring ASL as a first language at the earliest age learn English (specifically written) as efficiently as hearing children.

Benefits of being bilingual

Bilingualism opens up a part of your brain. It helps with many mental tasks like problem solving. It helps you see or think in a different way (e.g. intercultural perspectives and alternative solutions).

Suggested readings

Harlane Lane, et al. "Bilingual and Bicultural Education for Deaf Children." A Journey into the Deaf-World. California: DawnSignPress. 1996.

Related posts

Bilingualism is an empowering education and well-being of the Deaf. Pros and cons of education of the Deaf.

Facts and myths about language based on what the brain says.

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New to sign language? "Where do I start?" or "How do I start learning sign language?" This ASL Rookie guide lists some selected links to the tutorials for ASL beginners to get started and keep rolling. It may be a useful review for intermediate-level learners and ASL students as well.

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Expressing needs and wants

  1. Making commands or requests

Talking about activities

  1. Frequency of time: how often?

Are you able to carry everyday conversations in ASL? Are you a student in the intermediate levels and beyond, who wishes to boost up your signing skills? You've come to the selected tutorial series. (Some premium content are available to PatronPlus membership.)

Stories, poems, performance arts, etc. in sign language.

This documentation project follows a child's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, from newborn to age five in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.