Most children have the capacity and facility to learn more than one language. Researchers say that there are advantages to being bilingual. These advantages might include;
Being able to learn new words easily
Playing rhyming games with words like “cat” and “hat”
Breaking down words by sounds, such as C-A-T for cat
Being able to use information in new ways
Putting words into categories
Coming up with solutions to problems
Good listening skills
Connecting with others
According to the American Community Survey, more than one in 5 individuals over the age of 5 (21%) speak a language other than English at home. That number of bilingual speakers is projected to increase in the coming years.
Children who are learning to speak two languages follow patterns of learning. The sounds of the first language can influence how children learn and use a second language. It is easier to learn sounds and words when the languages you are learning are similar. Over time, the more difficult sounds and words will be learned.
Fact: Communication disorders affect more than 42 million Americans. Of these, 28 million have a hearing loss and 14 million have a speech or language disorder.
If a child has a speech or language problem, it will show up in both languages. However, these problems are not caused by learning two languages. If you know a child who is learning a second language and you have concerns about speech and language development, ASHA recommends contacting a bilingual speech-language pathologist (SLP).