You’re parents with a family from Atlanta and you’ve just found out that you’ll be relocating to Paris, France. This is clearly a gargantuan change for all of you and of course you are concerned that your kids will be able to adjust well in a new country, handling a whole new culture and language, French. Overall, you should not worry too much because in no time at all, they will be bilingual. Do you wonder if this is going to be a fortunate thing for them or mess up their world and psyches forever? Consider monolingualism versus bilingualism.
Which one is better?
As the world becomes more populated and communication, interactions and commerce are transacted globally and electronically, especially with the help of the internet, some people are finding it more and more useful to speak at least two languages, which includes English and French. If you are a parent wondering if your child should be integrated into a bilingual school, read on! The global future seems to call for polyglotism but does being familiar with more than one language help or hinder success? Will you root for your monolingual or bilingual child? In other words, for the purpose of this article, let’s discuss the pros and cons of being monolingual or bilingual children. This may help you with educational choices for your kids as American expats moving to France.
Mental & Physical Health
Studies reveal that monolingual children do not benefit in the areas of physical or cognitive health. This finding can only be seen as a very median result and does not take into consideration, those monolingual kids that may be practicing an amazingly healthy lifestyle–or example, kids eating an exceptionally healthful diet (i.e., based on nutrient dense Weston A. Price and Paleo principles) and practice optimal exercise. Bilingual kids, on the other hand, are more fortunate than their counterparts in this regard. Researchers have found that bilingual immigrant children are vastly more healthy physically as well as mentally than those kids that speak only their mother tongues. Cognitive functions like enhanced focus, planning abilities, creativity and solving complex problems come more easily to speakers of two languages versus those children that only speak one language. Lastly, bilingualism has the extraordinary ability to slow the brain’s aging process. One study determined that bilinguals showed signs of dementia an average of four years later than monolinguals.
Regarding the topic of vocabulary, monolinguals seem to fare better than their bilingual peers. They’re known to have a larger and rapidly acquired vocabulary, as well as a quicker word retrieval rate. Bilinguals have a tendency to mix words together from both languages, which may be a reason for their delay in vocabulary learning. However, let’s not dismiss our precious bilinguals’ abilities yet! Because kids who speak two languages adapt better to different strategies and can learn many words at once, they should be able to increase their vocabulary at a later time. Yes! They can catch up.
Future Professional Success
The fact that a person has two languages mastered you can probably take an educated guess that he/she will have many more opportunities open to him/her, personal as well as professional. How? Say, for instance, you’re a monolingual businessman specializing in SEO (search engine optimization) and you meet a prospective client with a website in your area of specialty. But wait. This person only speaks French and you only speak English. There are no translators in sight so what are you going to do? Chances are, nothing. What is there to be done? You just lost the multi-million dollar (or, in this case euro) contract. As you might imagine, many lost opportunities will ensue for monolinguals. Here, bilinguals have a clear advantage.
We’ve just touched upon a few topics regarding monolinguals versus bilinguals, but it seems obvious that your kids, who will obviously get a bilingual education, will have a clear advantage over their American counterparts they’ve left back home in Atlanta. So, don’t worry parents, bilinguals have an evident lead in problem solving, creativity, and health. Your kids are going to kick some ass in “The Hexagon”!