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JANUARY 25 2011 06:21h
Toddler's edge: A second language
Researchers at Concordia University, York University and the Universite de Provence in France tested the understanding of English and French words among 24-month-old children to see if bilingual toddlers had acquired comparable vocabulary in each language.
"By 24 months, we found bilingual children had already acquired a vocabulary in each of their two languages and gained some experience in switching between English or French," senior researcher Diane Poulin-Dubois of Concordia University and of the Centre for Research in Human Development said in a statement.
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, found bilingual toddlers outperformed others on tasks in which they were distracted, and suggested exposing toddlers to a second language early in their development may enhance attention control.
"The small bilingual advantage that we observed in our 24-month-old bilinguals is probably due to a combination of infants' experience listening to and using their two languages," Poulin-Dubois said.
Poulin-Dubois and colleagues assessed 63 toddlers divided into groups of unilingual and bilingual. Parents completed a language exposure interview and vocabulary checklists ad children completed five basic language and cognitive tests.
MONTREAL, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Benefits of being bilingual are evident in toddlers much earlier than reported in previous studies, Canadian and French researchers said.