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Module 1: Bilingualism

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Bilingualism - Lesson Summary

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The Key Contents from this Module are:

Bilingualism is the ability to speak two or more languages. A person who grows up speaking two languages can communicate equally well in either one. Most bilinguals are not balanced but have a preferred or dominant language. An unbalanced bilingual is a person who has limited ability in a second language.

Compared with Monolinguals, Bilinguals have Metalinguistic Awareness. They understand how language works and this enables them to have effective communication skills.
Bilinguals experience considerable impact on everyday life. Their ability to switch between languages makes this possible.
Bilinguals are creative and have good problem-solving skills, especially for tasks requiring symbolic flexibility and concept formation.

Cognitive Reserve is the idea that a person develops a reserve of thinking abilities during their lives and that this protects them against losses that can occur through ageing and disease. As a consequence, they develop resilience and so have more reserve to call on in old age.

Factors that contribute to Cognitive Reserve are:

Level of formal education and occupational status
Regular physical exercise and Social engagement
Lifelong Bilingualism

Difference between Dialect and Language

A dialect is a form of language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group. A language is a system of communication used by a particular country or community. This implies that we can view a language in the role of a parent plant, with a range of dialects stemming from it.

Ultimate Attainment can be defined as the endpoint of second language acquisition and typically falls short of full mastery. It is affected by different factors, including Age of Arrival and Length of Residence.