Benefits of being bilingual
According to a study at the University of Haifa in Israel, children who grow up bilingually are able to learn a third language more easily than monolingual children.
The study compared children who speak Russian and Hebrew with those who speak only Hebrew, and who are all learning English at school. It found that the bilingual children not only find it easy to learn English, but also that doing so raises their IQs, and that they speak Hebrew better than the Hebrew monolinguals.
The researchers believe that learning several languages at a young age bolsters one’s language skills, and as skill in language is an important cognitive function, this makes learning easier in general.
When researching the phenomenon of language decline and death for my dissertation, I found that one common reason why languages decline is because many people believe that it’s better for their children to speak a mainstream language rather than a minority language, and that trying to speak both languages is likely to overwhelm their poor little brains and result in them speaking neither language very well. This research suggests that such beliefs are mistaken.