Is Bilingualism a Superpower? | Otherwords

There was a time when psychologists thought growing up bilingual was harmful to brain development, but recent studies into bilingual children have turned that idea on its head!

Otherwords is a PBS web series on Storied that digs deep into this quintessential human trait of language and fınds the fascinating, thought-provoking, and funny stories behind the words and sounds we take for granted. Incorporating the fıelds of biology, history, cultural studies, literature, and more, linguistics has something for everyone and offers a unique perspective on what it means to be human.

Janet Werker (2012). Perceptual foundations of bilingual acquisition in infancy
Nuria Sebastian-Galles and Chiara Santolin (2020) Bilingual Acquisition: The Early Steps
Erika Hoff (2017) Bilingual Development in Children of Immigrant Families
Ellen Bialystok and Fergus I. M. Craik (2010) Cognitive and Linguistic Processing in the
Bilingual Mind
Jonathan A. Berken, Vincent L. Graccob, Denise Kleina (2016) Early bilingualism, language attainment, and brain development
Maria M. Arredondo, Xiao-Su Hu, Teresa Satterfield, and Ioulia Kovelman (2016) Bilingualism alters children’s frontal lobe functioning for attentional control
Maria M. Arredondo, Richard N. Aslin, Janet F. Werker (2020) Bilingualism alters infants’ cortical organization for attentional orienting mechanisms
Maria M. Arredondo, Richard N. Aslin, Minyu Zhang, Janet F. Werker (2020) Attentional orienting abilities in bilinguals: Evidence from a large infant sample
Drew Weatherhead, Maria M. Arredondo, Loreto Nácar Garcia, and Janet F. Werker (2020) The Role of Audiovisual Speech in Fast-Mapping and Novel Word Retention in Monolingual and Bilingual 24-Month-Olds

Host: Erica Brozovsky, Ph.D.
Creator/Director: Andrew Matthews & Katie Graham
Writer: Andrew Matthews
Producer: Katie Graham
Editor/Animation: Andrew Matthews
Executive Producer: Amanda Fox
Fact Checker: Yvonne McGreevy

Special thanks to:
Maria M. Arredondo, Ph.D.
Lena Widen Dunsmoor
Beth Widen
Daniella Varela
Teddy Matthews
The Child’s Lab at the University of Texas

Executive in Charge for PBS: Maribel Lopez
Director of Programming for PBS: Gabrielle Ewing
Associate Director of Programming for PBS: Niki Walker

Stock Images from Shutterstock
Music from APM Music
Otherwords is produced by Spotzen for PBS.
© 2022 PBS. All rights reserved.

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