The development in cooperation among EU countries and frequent visits abroad make it necessary in modern Europe to speak foreign languages fluently. Scientists are convinced that children who are exposed to two languages in early childhood make faster progress than others even if they have some difficulties at early stage.
Bilingual children learn to speak at the same pace as their monolingual peers which means that they gain double the amount of knowledge at the same time. Their language structures are better developed which affects the whole process of education, making them more creative and efficient in mathematics. Bilingual children’s memory and ability to concentrate is better developed so it is easier for them to focus on their tasks especially when any distractions appear.
1. There is no language barrier for them – they learn two or more languages naturally and language is a tool to learn about the world not just a school subject.
2. They learn new languages easily – they gain knowledge about language (so-called "methalinguistic awareness") which helps in learning other language(s).
3. They can switch easily from one language to the other - both languages used by a child are always active in their mind and when hearing someone speak they choose subconsciously which language to use.
4. They learn to read and write faster – "methalinguistic awareness" is one of the basic abilities needed to learn to read and write. Bilingual children develop high level of the awareness of the languages they speak as they very often make a choice which language to use and can easily determine the abstract connection between letters and sounds. Such people become better writers and users of language as they are more aware how it functions.
5. They are better at school – both the time and ability to think abstractly about a language have influence on success in education. A child who does better in exercises testing methalinguistic awareness will probably be stronger at school, too.
6. They are creative both in language and other areas – bilingual people have developed abilities also in other areas than linguistic competence which is the result of learning and processing two languages. They have higher level of divergent thinking which is the basis of the creative thought process.
7. They are better at performing several tasks at the same time - bilingualism helps to develop ability to ignore irrelevant or misleading information. Divergent thinking developed by bilingual children is the basis for selective attention enabling them to choose which information is important.
8. Their memory and perceptiveness are well trained.
9. They are admired and praised which helps build self-confidence.
10. They know and understand the culture associated with each language.
11. They are open-minded, tolerant, and flexible.
More benefits from bilingualism:
- fosters broad-mindedness – gives better understanding of cultural diversity and contributes to creation of more tolerant society;
- makes it easier to study and travel abroad - no language barrier, easier communication;
- improves career prospects – there are limitless possibilities in choice of a career or also a career associated with performing services that are open only to those who can deal with people from more than one language society. Some of the benefits come not only from speaking the language but also the ability to better understand customer's cultural needs.
- easier access to the cultural heritage of various nations – ability to read literature and particularly poetry in the original language;
- greater impact on vivacity of the mind in old age and protects against dementia – for example, the team of Professor Ellen Bialystok from York University has come to conclusion that people diagnosed with Alzheimer's who spoke more than one language had the symptoms of the disease on average 5 years later than monolingual people.