The Benefits of Bilingualism

Rachel Farhan


More and more people are becoming bilingual and it is worth the time and effort to learn a different language. Spanning from neurological to academic and beyond, research suggests that being bilingual has many benefits, including a sense of community and accomplishment. Research has shown that bilingualism at an early age has neurological and academic benefits.  Neurological benefits include plasticity of the brain, increase in brain activity, and a cognitive advantage. Academic benefits include a larger capacity for short term memory and a literacy advantage. The earlier a language is learned, the earlier it is obtained, and learning another language has lasting effects that can carry on to a child’s later education and life.

            Keywords: benefits, bilingualism

Full Text:



Andrei, M. (2018, May 01). Science shows what's the best time to learn a foreign language. Retrieved from foreign-language-01052018/

Burlacu, A. (2018, May 02). What's the best age for learning a new language? Retrieved from

Cook, V. (2001). Using the first language in the classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review,57(3), 402-423. doi:10.3138/cmlr.57.3.402

Espinosa, L. M. (2018). Encouraging the development and achievement of dual language learners in early childhood. American Educator, 42(3). 10-12. Retrieved from

Gander, K. (2018, May 02). Scientists have pinpointed the best age to learn a second language. Retrieved from

Gil, L., & Bardack, S. (2010). Common assumptions vs. the evidence: English language learners in the United States: A reference guide. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e537552012-001

Jasińska, K. K., & Petitto, L. (2017). Age of bilingual exposure is related to the contribution of phonological and semantic knowledge to successful reading development. Child Development,89(1), 310-331. doi:10.1111/cdev.12745

Kovelman, I., Baker, S. A., & Petitto, L. (2008). Bilingual and monolingual brains compared: a functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of syntactic processing and a possible “neural signature” of bilingualism. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(1), 153-169. doi:10.1162/jocn.2008.20.1.153

Marian, V., & Shook, A. (2012). The cognitive benefits of being bilingual. Cerebrum: The Dana Forum on Brain Science, 2012, 13.

Marsh, D. (2000). Using languages to learn and learning to use languages: An introduction to content and language integrated learning for parents and young people. Jvyäskylä: University of Jvyäskylä.

McLaughlin, B. (1992). Myths and misconceptions about second language learning: What every teacher needs to unlearn. Santa Cruz, CA: National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning.

Proctor, P. C., August, D., Carlo, M. S., & Snow, C. (2006, February). Interaction Between Spanish Vocabulary and English Fluency [Digital image]. Retrieved April 12, 2019 from

Proctor, C. P., August, D., Carlo, M. S., & Snow, C. (2006). The intriguing role of spanish language vocabulary knowledge in predicting english reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 159-169. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.98.1.159

Pufahl, I., Rhodes, N. C., & Christian, D. (n.d.). What we can learn from foreign language teaching in other countries. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from

Schmid, M. (2018, September 11). At what age is it easiest to learn a second language? Retrieved from

Sousa, D. (2011). How the ELL brain learns. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Teale, W. H. (2009, May). Growth Trajectory [Digital image]. Retrieved April 12, 2019 from

Teale, W. H. (2009). Students learning English and their literacy instruction in urban schools. The Reading Teacher, 62(8), 699-703. doi:10.1598/rt.62.8.9

Top 10 benefits of early language learning [Web log post]. (n.d.). Retrieved from


  • There are currently no refbacks.