Overview of subject:
Before knowing whether or not bilingualism is a blessing or a curse, it is important to first investigate the similarities and differences between monolingual and bilingual children. Monolingual children in the United States are native English speakers who speak English at home with their family members and also in the community. Bilingual children in the United States speak a language other than English at home and speak English at school or within the community. Bilingual children may also speak both English and a non-English language at home, depending on their family’s native languages. Children raised bilingually from birth are “simultaneous” bilingual speakers and children who learn their second language after their native tongue are considered “sequential” bilingual children.
If being monolingual helps children learn concepts, vocabulary and speech patterns faster than their bilingual classmates, then its advantageous to be monolingual. However, if being bilingual assists children in these areas and monolinguals fall behind, it is better to be bilingual. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages to both bilingualism and monolingualism can help educators, caregivers and parents understand what they can expect from their children.
Axmear, E., Reichele, J., Alamsaputra, M., Kohnert, K., Drager, K., & Sellnow, K. (2005).
Synthesized speech intelligibility in sentences: A comparison of monolingual English- speaking and bilingual children. Language, Speech, & Hearing Services in Schools, 36(3), 244-250.
The researchers wanted to compare monolingual and bilingual children listening to synthesized and human speech. Axmear et al. (2005) said that although many adults and adolescents had been compared using synthesized speech software, it was important to examine the intelligibility of this frequently used communication tool among young children (p. 254). More and more children are bilingual learners but not many classrooms are prepared to teach using two or more languages. Synthesized speech software can play an important role in helping teachers communicate with young children. However, if they cannot understand the synthesized sentences, using it is meaningless.
In this study, the children were between the ages of four and six years old. They included 10 monolingual English-speaking and 10 bilingual English/non-English-speaking children. Each child heard 16 different sentences in English, half spoken by a real person’s natural voice and half by Perfect Paul from DECtalk, a synthesized speech software. Each child was asked to repeat the sentences they heard.
Bilingual children had lower accuracy when repeating sentences they heard from both the natural and synthesized voices when compared to monolingual children. However, both groups had lower accuracy when repeating sentences they heard from the synthesized voice. The monolinguals had a 15%...