Pros and Cons
There is an ongoing controversy about the question whether it is an advantage or a disadvantage being bilingual. There have always been voices claiming that raising children bilingually is something unnatural. The German linguist Leo Weisgerber warned in 1965 about the perils of bilingualism ("Gefahren der Zweisprachigkeit") He was mentioning certain detrimental effects. He argues, that by nature man is monolingual and that being bilingual is like trying to belong to different religions simultaneously.
Nowadays, most of the linguists disagree with Weisgerbers harsh criticism of bilingualism. In 1962, Elizabeth Peal and Wallace Lambert studied the intellectual development of ten-year-old children from six Montreal schools (French). Their study revealed a positive effect of bilingualism. The results showed that ten year old Bilinguals performed better on intellectual reasoning tests than did monolinguals, comparable to them.
In 1968, Liedtke and Nelson praised the positive effects as well: "These results seem to indicate that the linguistic and cultural experience of the Bilinguals is an advantage. The evidence would would seem to demonstrate the importance of social interaction and social environment as ingredients of experience. Intelligence factors necessary for concept formation seem to be developed to a greater extent in the bilingual subjects. If bilingualism increases intellectual potentials and is beneficial to concept formation then a second language should be introduced during the early years when experience and environmental factors are most effective in contributing to the development of intelligence. The results of this study seem to indicate that becoming bilingual speeds up the normal process of some parts of mental development." The main advantages of bilingualism as suggested by George Saunders in his book "Bilingual Children: From Birth to Teens", pages 17 - 22:
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