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Exercise 3 Being Bilingual

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For IGCSE ESL Exercise 3 Being Bilingual, you have to read an article and make brief notes under supplied headings.

use of english, vocabulary, grammar

This IGCSE ESL Exercise 3 about being bilingual is in a computer-based version which is different in format from the paper-based version of the IGCSE ESL Examination.

IGCSE ESL Exercise 3 Being Bilingual

Read the article.  Write words under the different headings.

If you speak another language and you also speak English (or any other language), your brain may have developed some distinct advantages over your friends who only speak one language. New research into bilingualism has found that being fluent in two languages, particularly from early childhood, increases a person’s ability to concentrate, and might also protect against diseases of the brain in old age.

Until fairly recently, parents and teachers feared that introducing children to a second language when they were very young could not only delay their language skills but also harm their intellectual growth. In addition, there were fears that bilingual children would become confused in their use of language. New research, however, has found that bilingual children speak their first word, and their first fifty words and so on, at the same age as children who only speak one language. Furthermore, there is no evidence that children confuse the two languages.

Bilingual children may have an advantage at school. In fact, even before they start school they have been found to be better than others at focusing on a task and ignoring distractions. School-age bilingual children have been found to have an above average ability to concentrate. They also find it easier to interact and make friends with a wide group of other children. It may be that managing two languages helps the brain to focus and ignore irrelevant information.

At the other end of the age scale, one of the difficulties which can affect old people is known as ‘dementia’. This is a condition that causes the brain to stop working normally. People with dementia are often confused and their memories no longer function properly. Research suggests that bilingualism may slow down the beginning of age-related dementia, by up to four years. Although scientists don’t know why bilingualism does this, some suggest that speaking two languages may increase the blood and oxygen flow to the brain and keep nerve connections healthy.

More recently, scientists have discovered that the brains of bilingual adults are different, especially in the brain’s left side, where most language and communication skills are controlled. The effect is strongest in people who learnt a second language before the age of five. This discovery suggests that being bilingual from an early age significantly changes the brain’s structure.

For many years now, scientists have been arguing about exactly how the brains of bilingual people organise language. However, thanks to technological advances, scientists have recently discovered that the processing of different languages mostly happens in the same area of the brain. On the other hand, when bilinguals are rapidly switching backwards and forwards between their two languages, they show significantly more activity in the right side of the brain than people who speak only one language.

It really does seem that speaking two languages gives the brain an excellent workout!

More exercises available:

When learning vocabulary, especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practice so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Make brief notes related to a piece of text.

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. So, our IGCSE ESL Word searches are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings.
Word puzzles require not just a good vocabulary and a knack for spelling, but the ability to think logically and strategically. In the case of puzzles like our IGCSE Crosswords, it’s crucial to spell linked words correctly to be able to complete the task. 
Learning English requires not just a good vocabulary, but a strong foundation of all skills to communicate well. Here we provide activities for the IGCSE ESL for all the skills required to be successful in this examination.