The following article deals with a series of research studies into bilingualism and its acquisition.
The most respected researchers into psycholinguistics state that a child’s brain from the age of 3-8 years is in it’s maximum phase of plasticity, therefore it is the best time for learning in general but especially for the acquisition of a second language, thanks also to the fact that at this age the child’s brain works in an holistic way. The child can in fact acquire contemporarily the words, the structure they contain, the sound, the image, plus any accompanying mimes and gestures that go with that word without any interference or reference to logic or other conscious preconceived ideas as in an adult brain. The pre-school and primary school child can be compared to a sponge with an enhanced capacity and curiosity to learn.
Neurologists however believe that in the early years, the child elaborates his verbal and linguistic processes using both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. After the age of 8 or 9 this no longer occurs and as the child further develops he uses either the left or right hemisphere for mental processes, losing the initial brain plasticity. Therefore the early childhood years are the best in which to acquire language, taught with appropriate methods which offer a global and natural approach, this theory can be found in the book – Natural Approach – by KRASHEN TERREL T. 1983 Pergamon – Oxford Press. Bilingualism and the knowledge of the English language as documented in national and international statistical research, has promoted an understanding of the subject and respect for other cultures with the general public, creating the individual as a citizen of the world and giving them a passport to the world.