Essay about Language Switching

Essay about Language Switching

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As an English native speaker, I embarked on learning a second language from an early age. Due to the fact I lived in an area with a lot of Spanish-speakers, I found it relevant to my lifestyle to learn Spanish. However, I can easily make it around every day without using my second language. However, there are borders that defy that statement. There are Spanish communities in the Northeastern province of Spain where Catalan is spoken along with Spanish. Psychologists have often question the effects of bilingualism on the brain, but have “often lacked information regarding the age of acquisition, the degree of proficiency and the degrees of exposure to a given language of the tested sample” (Garbin & et., al.) Garbin and other psychologists in Spain looked at this specific region of their country to test the switching back and forth of the two languages in high-proficient and early bilinguals and the effects on neural activity in the brain.
The high-proficient bilinguals are those who can create and understand complex thought in a language other than their native, while early bilinguals are those who have had the opportunity to use both languages and develop their skills from childhood up until adulthood. In these Spanish communities where languages switching is very common, psychologists are curious about the activity “at the core of the language control” (Garbin & et., al.) Previous research has revealed that language control affects areas of the brain that control executive control processes: the frontal and prefrontal cortex, left inferior and superior parietal cortices, the ACC and the caudate nucleus. The defined directions of the switch were that L1 to L2 is from the dominant language to the non-dominant language; L2 to L1 ...


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...ized if we were to start teaching children a second language at an early age and give them a more constant and rigorous second language curriculum. Instead of having a “Spanish class,” there are some elementary level and preschools that teach and talk half of the day in Spanish and the other half in English. I am curious to see their switching effects in comparison to these students who live in an environment where the two languages are intermingled. However, it makes me wonder what border towns of countries, like the US/Mexico border are like when it comes to these same tests.



Works Cited

Garbin, G. G., Costa, A. A., Sanjuan, A. A., Forn, C. C., Rodriguez-Pujadas, A. A., Ventura, N. N., & ... Ávila, C. C. (2011). Neural bases of language switching in high and early proficient bilinguals. Brain And Language, 119(3), 129-135. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2011.03.011

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