Adjusting to a new language environment
Research undetaken at Michigan State University has found that girls can find it more difficult than boys to adjust to a new social and linguistic environment, according to an article on Science Daily.
The study was of 3-6 year olds at an international school in Beijing where the children, from 16 different countries, are in immersed in Mandarin and English. Most of them are learning at least one new language, and the researchers found that the girls generally had more trouble adjusting to the new environment than boys.
Previous studies have found that girls usually have better social and linguistic abilities than boys, however the girls in the Beijing study who could not understand their teachers or the other children tended to have more behavioural problems than the boys.
The study also showed that children find it harder to learn a new language than is generally thought. The popular idea is that children soak up new languages like sponges without too much effort, however this isn’t necessarily true.