“Bilingualism delayed the onset of symptoms of dementia by about four years,” Costa concludes. I wanted more from this, but Costa writes, mostly, like a real scientist: cautious, evidence-based hypothesis testing, free of claims of "settled" science and other BS (bad science) claims for which there is some but insufficient evidence. Neuropsychologist Albert Costa spent two decades exploring bilingualism, and his book offers surprising insights - - BBC Science Focus A clear and approachable study by a renowned neurologist - - … The previous suspicion of the bilingual home in educational theory has some meagre grounding in the evidence. Summaries of research studies are mixed with personal stories, pop-cultural references, and occasional jokes. They are able to see puzzles more easily from another’s point of view (the difference here is as much as 30%). Research in Toronto found a gap of several years between the emergence of dementia symptoms in monolingual and bilingual speakers. It can even delay the onset of dementia. It’s a charming book. (Asked whether it’s worth pushing a man in front of a train to save five other lives, respondents are more rational than moralistic when considering the question in a non-native language.)
227 Publications. The research results are pretty astonishing. This is me. The same holds good for many other countries, far beyond those nations – from India and South Africa to Belgium and Wales – where language policy acts as a front-line (and divisive) issue. It might even be the case that Britain’s varied bilingual communities – from Polish- to Punjabi-speakers – constitute a sort of hidden resource, invisible in the debates about the decline of languages in schools and scorned by the nativist politicians who now govern us. There is a “change-cost” in which bilingual speakers are – only milliseconds – slower at naming common objects. Those of us who have to toil and sweat with other languages often feel a twinge of envy when we meet truly bilingual folk. In this (sadly posthumous) study, the Barcelona-based cognitive scientist Albert Costa lays his stress on neurology and psychology – rather than the social dimensions of language – as he scans the research to explain “how two languages coexist in the same brain”. Es un libro fácil de leer, se lee relativamente rápido, aunque no pierde el rigor científico. Newborns only hours old can already detect a change of language. Albert Costa. But from the 1960s onwards, increasingly scientific research (coupled, perhaps, with a greater appreciation of cultural difference) pushed the pendulum a long way in the other direction. We’re less instinctive and kneejerk in a foreign language, more able to be utilitarian and cold-headed. For Costa, “facing problems in a foreign language leads to better decisions”.
Hint: There is never enough evidence to prove a hypothesis "correct".
Children raised in such an environment pick up vocabulary slightly more slowly than their peers, with marginally slower verbal recall in their early years. My personal favorite section was towards the end when he discusses how our moral choices are affected depending on whether we're presented with moral dilemmas in languages we've spoken since childhood or languages we learned af. While generally clear while discussing scientific discoveries in this area, I was left occasionally bemused. Mostly, though, it’s the close-focus neuroscience of the “talking head” with a double wiring that concerns Costa. It isn't informational enough to labor over, frankly. A good read. Over the past century, perceptions of bilingualism have swung from one extreme to the other. By four to six months they are able to distinguish between, say, English and French, only by what they see of the speaker’s mouth. It can comfortably sort out differences, even before babies gain the ability to speak.
The Anglos may believe that, linguistically, they hold the higher cards.
A book that philologists will like, although I am related to philology in terms of education, but I am not a philologist at heart. Which often means, of course, having greater empathy with your colleagues, partners or perhaps antagonists. Costa’s final chapter, on decision-making, offers the most resonant discoveries of all. 9,935 Citations. Honestly I was expecting so much more. These sections by and large relate to anyone who uses a second language well rather than strictly-defined bilinguals, brought up with two near-equal tongues. Put baldly, people who work at a high level in a second language seem to operate more lucidly in it. His references range from Douglas Adams's "Babel fish" super-translator to the emotional impact of reading Harry Potter novels in your first or second language. Interesting read! While generally clear while discussing scientific discoveries in this area, I was left occasionally bemused. “The next time you see a baby, remember that there is a powerful statistical computer in front of you”, Books that make you think and learn (No Memoirs/Biographies/Politics), Mariah Carey Is Telling Her Own Story (and Recommending Books). There’s less “loss aversion” when we’re navigating quandaries outside our own tongue. It appears to neutralise cognitive and intuitive biases, to “reduce emotional intensity”, and to foster calmer and more rational approaches to problem-solving. Here, I would want to take issue withthis book’s title. Creo que vale la pena leerlo. He even demonstrates how, in old age, the lifelong command of two languages may delay the onset of dementia. Pompeu Fabra University. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. One would have imagined that the minimal delay would be in sourcing words from the weaker language, but it’s the opposite: “the cost of change”, writes Costa, “is asymmetric: its magnitude is greater for the dominant language than for the non-dominant one (what we call ‘asymmetrical language code-switching’).” Costa is clear about all these micro-drawbacks: it’s a generalisation, but generally true that “bilingual individuals have a smaller vocabulary in their two languages than monolinguals”. If, in Costa, you sometimes miss the rich hinterland of culture beyond the wonders of the cerebrum, you’ll find that terrain generously mapped by Kohn. What is this? Hello Select your address Best Sellers Today's Deals Electronics Customer Service Books New Releases Home Gift Ideas Computers Gift Cards Sell They can more readily “change their perspective to that of their partner” in conversation. Bilinguals, it transpires, have an enhanced ability to filter out interference.They may pay attention more efficiently. Be the first to ask a question about The Bilingual Brain. It can comfortably sort out differences, even before babies gain the ability to speak. Also, they appear to be better at multitasking, and even bilingual infants show superior “cognitive flexibility”. Later in life, that extra storage – or “cognitive reserve” – may become available to offset not only dementia but other, milder deficits of the ageing brain. linguist neuropsychologist scientist author congnitivist Albert Costa was a Catalan cognitive scientist, neuropsychologist, and linguist. For me, this book covered a lot of topics and research I had already known of (hence 3 stars). That ability to switch codes, seemingly without any fuss, must confer so many benefits. A pity, then, that this of all books should downgrade the contribution of its English translator from the Spanish. So a book that offers to explain what happens deep in the grey and white matter of the “bilingual brain” promises not just new insights into the neuropsychology of language. But the advantages aren’t only cultural breadth or depth, but also better decision-making: we’re less instinctive and kneejerk in a foreign language, more able to be utilitarian and cold-headed.
So it’s clear that this isn’t a manifesto claiming bilinguals are geniuses (“don’t worry about whether your opponent in a chess match is bilingual or not,” he quips).
My personal favorite section was towards the end when he discusses how our moral choices are affected depending on whether we're presented with moral dilemmas in languages we've spoken since childhood or languages we learned after childhood.
Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday! Welcome back. Albert Costa: The Bilingual Brain review – double-talking heads and what they tell us |, The Bilingual Brain, and what it tells us about the science of language, BABEL (words), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Antony Gormley, Sadler's Wells, Extract: Peter Brook - Tip of the Tongue: Reflections on Language and Meaning. – Penguin. Bilingualism proper may still to some extent depend on the accidents of birth and upbringing. All rights reserved. Simply enter your email address in the box below, Beyond Babel: Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 'The Tower of Babel', 'Bilingualism delayed the onset of symptoms of dementia by about four years,' Costa concludes. For a broader, less technical account of why speaking in two, or several, tongues matters so much, I’d recommend a complementary work: Marek Kohn’s Four Words for Friend from Yale University Press (full disclosure: he is one).
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