Foreign Language Research

Studies in brain development indicate that early exposure to multiple languages builds a more powerful brain by boosting synaptic connections, and offers long-term cognitive, creative, and academic benefits.

In her fascinating TED Talk, The Linguistic Genius of Babies, Dr. Patricia Kuhl, co-director, Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences, University of Washington, explains that babies everywhere are “citizens of the world,” who can “discriminate all the sounds of all languages.”

“Infants babble using sounds which make up all the languages of the world. All newborns possess the ability to distinguish between the different sounds. During the first critical period (before 12 months), babies learn one language over another by listening to humans around them and ‘taking statistics’ on the sounds they need to know.”

Early language education stimulates the developing brain during its window of “celestial openness.”

Research shows that during this critical learning period, 0-3 years of age, positive social interaction is a key factor in brain growth and language development. The optimal learning environment is warm, nurturing, and enriched with sensory stimulation tailored to the young child. Immersion in more than one language during this sensitive window not only produces better results for native level acquisition but can also enhance and extend phonological awareness, which is considered “the pathway to language” and is positively correlated with future success in reading.

Please enjoy this informative article by Carousel’s own Evgeniya Maryutina, Neurolinguist, Carousel Curriculum Team, and Russian Teacher.