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.

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This entry was posted in Language, Language acquisition, Language learning.

0 Responses to Adjusting to a new language environment

  1. Weili Wang says:

    This got me thinking, how much of it is nature, and how much of it nurture?

    Even by the age of 3, children should be familiar with how a culture view the differences between the two genders. In almost all cultures in the world, women are viewed (IMHO incorrectly) as the “weaker gender”.

    With that in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that girls tend to have more trouble adjusting to a new environment as they would be more timid and less likely to try new things and learn regarding their new environment.

    The same could be said about the discovery of children not learning languages as easily as previously thought. How are the children being taught the languages? Is it in a classroom environment and very clear and logical guidelines and textbooks? Or is it just simply exposing the children with real life situations and listening to people have conversations and such?