Archive for December 29th, 2008

Does bilingualism cause mental retardation?

Today, Martin Shipton reported that an expert witness in a custody case testified that, “Welsh medium education could cause mental retardation in some children.” While the details of specific case are unknown, it seems that the expert believes that either Welsh causes mental retardation or that bilingualism causes mental retardation. Neither of these of course is true, but it brings up some of the same arguements that we hear over and over again. Can children handle two languages? Do children who divide their attention between two languages learn either one well? Yet, all over the world, children can and do operate in more than one language.

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