ERIC Number: ED163814
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Childhood Bilingualism and Adult Language Learning Aptitude, CUNY Forum, No. 3.
This paper investigates the influence childhood bilingualism has on adult foreign language learning ability. Early research exploring the influence of bilingualism on general intelligence is mentioned as well as recent studies that present more favorable results. It is hypothesized that childhood bilingualism will have a positive effect on adult foreign language learning aptitude. Bilingualism is defined, and the bilinguals in this study are limited to those who acquired a second language before puberty. The subjects for this experiment were 93 college students, all either native Americans or those who had arrived in the U.S. before age 5 and had native proficiency in English. They were given the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) and were asked to rate the importance of foreign language learning as an asset. For comparison purposes, the subjects were divided into the following groups: monolinguals, bilinguals, bilinguals with formal education, bilinguals without formal education, polylinguals, and simple bilinguals. The findings point towards the conclusion that bilingualism in childhood is a positive factor in adult second language learning aptitude. Formal education may be a positive factor for formal learning situations although it may have a negative effect on the self confidence of the learner. Learning several languages in childhood appears to have a cumulative positive effect. (NCR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: City Univ. of New York, NY. Graduate School and Univ. Center. Program in Linguistics.