Flexible learning of multiple speech structures in bilingual infants

TitleFlexible learning of multiple speech structures in bilingual infants
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsKovács, Ágnes Melinda, and J. Mehler
Journal titleScience
Pages 611 - 612

Children acquire their native language according to a well-defined time frame. Surprisingly, although children raised in bilingual environments have to learn roughly twice as much about language as their monolingual peers, the speed of acquisition is comparable in monolinguals and bilinguals. Here, we show that preverbal 12-month-old bilingual infants have become more flexible at learning speech structures than monolinguals. When given the opportunity to simultaneously learn two different regularities, bilingual infants learned both, whereas monolinguals learned only one of them. Hence, bilinguals may acquire two languages in the time in which monolinguals acquire one because they quickly become more flexible learners.

DOIDOI: 10.1126/science.1173947
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