Questions exist as to how children master and develop different skills. One of the areas of interest is the ability of the children to acquire language. More so, the situation is more confusing when the children have to learn and differentiate between two languages. The essay below looks at this issue in greater detail.
How Babies Sort Out Language
The initial study carried out by Werker and Heinlein (2008) sought to look at how the infants in bilingual families managed to acquire the two first languages. This study was propagated by the assumption that existed for a long time that children coming from such families were likely to suffer from what was termed as language confusion (Klass, 2011). As such, the studies had a clear and precise goal of assessing how the children managed to acquire the two languages.
Werker and Heinlein (2008) as well as Klass (2011) had solid grounds as to why they needed the research carried out. There was the need to identify whether the children in monolingual families had an advantage over those from bilingual families in terms of language acquisition. However, the results proved the opposite where it was seen that though children from both types of families could differentiate the languages at 4 months, those from monolingual families lost this ability by the time they hit 10-12 months while those from bilingual families still retained the ability. This is quite confusing and opposite of the expected. Such an explanation is good enough to warrant a study.
A successful study must have research questions to guide it. This was also present in the two studies. The studies main question was at distinguishing the factors that affect language discrimination in the infants. This could help in explaining all the difference. The studies went ahead to identify these factors which included rhythmical cues, lips movement among other factors. Children from bilingual families develop an open and flexible mind, which make them acquire both languages. In general, the studies have the objective, problem definition and the research questions well defined. These lead to a comprehensive conclusion.
Klass, P. (2011). Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language. The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2011. Retrieved on 19th Sept. 2012 from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/health/views/11klass.html?_r=0
Werker, J.F. & Heinlein, K.B. (2008). Bilingualism in Infancy: First Steps in Perception and Comprehension. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 12(4). (Attached)