The bilingual edge: what the research says

In recent decades, Americans’ perception of bilingualism has been transformed. As recently as the 1990s, the prevailing belief was that if a child grew up bilingual, they would be at a linguistic and cognitive disadvantage. Today, many Americans believe the opposite, that speaking more than one language carries advantages. But the hundreds of studies of the bilingual brain don’t all draw the same conclusions. In this episode, we sample some recent research whose findings are helping to paint a more nuanced picture of how bilingual speakers function differently from monolinguals.

Music in this episode by Walt Adams, Blue Dot Sessions, Medité, Podington Bear and Trabant 33. Photo of a bilingual street sign in Sydney’s Chinatown by Jordanopia/Wikimedia Commons.

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