Young children who hear more than one language spoken at home become better communicators, a new study finds. Effective communication requires the ability to take others’ perspectives.
Researchers discovered that children from multilingual environments are better at interpreting a speaker’s meaning than children who are exposed only to their native tongue.
The most novel finding is that the children don’t even have to be bilingual themselves — it’s the exposure to more than one language that is the key for building effective social communication skills.
Previous studies have examined the effects of being bilingual on cognitive development. This study, published online in Psychological Science, is the first to demonstrate the social benefits of just being exposed to multiple languages.
“Children in multilingual environments have extensive social practice in monitoring who speaks what to whom, and observing the social patterns and allegiances that are formed based on …