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Bilingual children are better at recognising voices, according to a recent study

India TV Lifestyle Desk New Delhi 13 Jun 2017, 13:40:50 IST
India TV Lifestyle Desk

If your kid speaks and understand more than one languages, then there’s one hidden benefit to it. A recent study has concluded that children who are bilingual have better cognitive control and focus for the tasks. This helps them recognize the voices better than their monolingual peers. According to the study, bilingual kids may have better experience in listening to accented speech and multiple languages. This helps them have better cognitive control and better social perception, which is an important tool in perceiving voices. 

The findings indicate towards another benefits of speaking multiple languages beyond the well-known cognitive benefits. The author of study, Susannah Levi from the New York University said that bilingual children have a perceptual benefit when processing information about a speaker’s voice. This advantage is present in the social feature of speech perception, where the focus is not on processing the linguistic information, but on processing the information about the person who’s speaking.

Levi added that speech simultaneously carries information about what is being said and who is saying it. Researchers analysed how children process the linguistic information about the person who’s speaking and sought to understand whether differences existed between children speaking one language to the ones speaking multiple languages. 

The study was conducted on 41 children, which included 22 monolingual English speakers and 19 bilingual kids. They were divided into age groups: nine years and younger and 10 years and older. The tasks revealed that older children performed better than their younger counterparts. This confirms the previous studies that decoding information about who is talking improves with the age. 

Levi also concluded that bilingual children performed better than monolingual children in recognising and processing voices speaking in both English and German. When listening to English, bilingual children were better at discriminating and learning to identify voices. They were also faster at learning voices. When hearing German, bilingual children were better at discriminating voices.

Levi noted that the study was a strong test of the benefits of bilingualism, because it looked for differences in both a language familiar to all participants and one unfamiliar to them. The study has been published in the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.