But these things, according to the research by Bilingualism Matters, are just the beginning.

For example, Ms Sorace explains, Bilingual Matters have been able to prove, using specially-designed tests, that children, even babies, can distinguish between different the sounds of different languages. While it’s perhaps not surprising that, say, Russian and French would sound different even to a baby’s ear, Bilingual Matters tested even extremely similar-sounding languages, like Spanish and Catalan – which even some adults confuse – and found that even with those languages, bilingual babies as young as 8 months old can tell the different sounds apart.

This isn’t just evidence of the brain’s pre-existing capabilities in terms of processing languages; the research shows us that the bilingual experience itself for a baby or toddler has an enormously positive impact on those capabilities. Festival of Social Sciences: 2 languages: 2 brains, 2 minds, 2 cultures?.

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