Parents who think to be bilingual will benefit the kids have to think twice now. A new study suggests that although speaking more than one language can provide social opportunities along the way, bilingual children are not necessarily more advantageous than monolingual ones when it comes to executive functions. Executive function includes remembering instructions, controlling responses, and shifting swiftly between tasks.
For the study, a team from the University of Tennesse examined 337 children aged five and 15 among which the first group spoke both Turkish and German and the other group spoke only German. They used a computer test to compare the executive function of two groups of children.
The results, published in PLOS ONE, showed no difference in the executive functions of the two groups. In addition, the researchers considered children’s German and Turkish vocabulary size and exposure to both languages. However, it is important to continue the research on this topic so parents, educators, and policymakers do not overpromise on the benefits of speaking a second language, noted Nils Jaekel, clinical assistant professor at the varsity.