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    Bilingualism in Psychology

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    Why it is difficult for an individual to learn a second language beyond childhood, but yet bilingualism is usually easier for young children? What are the advantages/disadvantages (cognitively) of being bilingual?

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    When a child is born, they do not know language. Language is developed by hearing others around them. A child can learn or acquire their native language much faster and more effectively than adults can when learning a second language, because humans are biologically prepared to learn languages. A mathematical model of the evolution of grammar, proposes that natural selection leads to a limited language-learning period, showing that after the critical time of childhood is gone, it is more difficult for a person to learn a second language. Research conducted between early acquisition high proficiency (EAHP) and late acquisition high proficiency (LAHP) showed that grammatical processing was affected for age of acquisition of 1-3 years; however, semantic processing was only affected by an age of acquisition of over 11 years of age. The results seem to be related to a larger activation in areas that are involved in morpho-syntactic processing, which supports a comparable performance level to that observed in the early acquisition participants (Wartenburger, et al, 2003).

    The age of acquisition theory or model provides evidence that age of acquisition is definitely an important variable when it comes to grammatical rather than for semantic processing. Another factor in the study was the proficiency and use of the language in the home, which is called simultaneous bilingualism, or when a child learns two languages from birth (Sternberg, & Sternberg, 2012). If the child ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution discusses why a child can learn more than one language easier than an adult, and the advantages and disadvantages of being bilingual.