Speak to Me

A recent article on Live Science argues that bilingual babies have an advantage over monolingual babies. Jeremy Hsu writes that although speaking two languages doesn’t necessarily translate into higher intelligence, it does give babies an advantage because “bilingual babies quickly adapt to different learning cues at seven months old compared with babies from single-language households.”  What’s the moral of the story? According to Jacques Mehler, “My conclusion is that it’s a very particular component of our cognitive toolbox, and early learning certainly has no negative effect.”

I wonder how the results change from bilingual to multilingual babies. Knowing how to speak more than one language fluently is very impressive to me because the speaker doesn’t have to think too much about the linguistic differences when speaking or writing the language. For example, in English, an adjective usually precedes the noun it is modifying (the red car). The only case where an adjective would follow a noun is when there is a verb that links the two (the car is red). In the Vietnamese language, the verb follows the noun so roughly translated, “the red car” translated into Vietnamese would look like this, “the car red.”

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