The Bilingual Child Publication date : January 18, 2017
Ranka Bijeljac-Babic is a psycho-linguist. A lecturer at the University of Poitiers, she is also a member of the Paris-Descartes Perception Psychology Laboratory where she leads research into the early effects of bilingualism in infants and, more broadly, on bilingualism in children. She lives in Paris.
In France, schools show an openly negative bias towards bilingualism among very young children. With the motto "all equal", schools have no idea of how to deal with a second language, which they try to ignore in order to devote maximum class time to learning French.
A majority of bilingual parents comply with these injunctions and stop talking to their children in the language of their childhood, of their country. Are they right? Are they wrong?
And what if bilingualism — far from obstructing or even delaying the development of children — were an asset, including on the cognitive level?