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So this is what being multilingual is about.

I enjoy bringing my children to local eateries. Not only is the atmosphere filled with the tantalizing aromas from the food, it is frequently bustling with a smorgasbord of local languages. 

'Aunty, laksa一碗,米粉面,少辣please!' (Aunty, a bowl of laksa, less spicy please with a mixture of vermicelli and noodle!)

'Uncle, teh o limau ais kosong, minum sini.' (Uncle, one sugar free lemonade please, having here.)

In a world where the children get to practice using cash and getting change, they also learn to speak the assemble the right combination of words to order precisely what they want to eat.

Obviously, the incentive of delicious food and drinks provides the correct motivation. 

But the study and practice of bilingualism exercise our brains too, thereby improving our brains' nonverbal cognitive performance. The bilingual cognitive advantage increases our overall neuroplasticity, improves the brain's ability to adapt to new experiences change throughout a person's lifetime (Gunnerud et al., 2020). The active application of bilingualism also improves our child's cognitive control as the child's brain suppresses one current language to activate the output of a second language (Wang et al., 2005).

The early exposure and active use of bilingualism for our children can have long term benefits. Early exposure Bilingual children show better performance on working memory and attention control in later primary years (grades 3 and 6).

Hopefully this improved cognitive functions stand the bilingual children in good stead as they grow older. 活学活用多语言,终身受益。

Of course, it certainly helps that our child knows what he wants to eat and exactly how to order it. wink

Interested to learn more on bilingual education, how to implement this strategy and longer term effect on kids? I would be covering this in our next parents workshop at Trinity Kids (Linc) on 30 March, 2024.


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