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The benefits of bilingualism

An Edinburgh professor is promoting the benefits of bilingualism to policy makers and business leaders across Scotland.

In a series of events throughout November, Professor Antonella Sorace from the University’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences has been reinforcing research findings which show that bilingualism is beneficial for children’s mental development.

Economic benefits

Her aim is to encourage families, educators and policy makers to support children from an early age to be exposed to more than one language and to think about the potential future economic and social benefits of early bilingualism.

Research has shown that bilingualism is beneficial for children’s development and their future. Children exposed to different languages become more aware of different cultures, other people and other points of view.They also tend to be better than monolinguals at multitasking and focusing attention. They are often precocious readers and generally find it easier to learn other languages.

Professor Antonella SoraceProfessor of Developmental Linguistics

Accessible

Professor Sorace heads the “Bilingualism Matters” initiative at the University, which aims to make the findings of scientific research on bilingualism accessible to the wider community. Most recently she has been speaking to representatives from the Scottish business community to promote the benefits of bilingualism and the implications for the business sector.

Professor Sorace spoke of the benefits of bilingualism at a conference earlier this month sponsored by Malcolm Chisholm MSP and is addressing audiences on “The Future of British Sign Language in An Inclusive Scotland” and at the Holyrood Magazine Conference “Gaelic Medium Education: Striving For Sustainability.”