Scots fare worst in bilingualism study

Scots families were more likely to drop out of the bilingualism initiative. Picture: TSPL
Scots families were more likely to drop out of the bilingualism initiative. Picture: TSPL
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SCOTS have fared worst in a Europe-wide initiative designed to foster bilingualism.

The study, which was led by the University of Edinburgh and backed by the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), recruited 25 monolingual families from five European countries.

The project, Let’s Become a Bilingual Family, saw children aged 3-7 exposed to a new European language together with their parents over a 12-month period.

However, families in Scotland found it difficult to commit to the year-long project on a regular basis and were most likely to pull out of before the end.

In contrast, families from the other four European countries involved - Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Spain - had high completion rates.

Project leader Professor Antonella Sorace, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said: “The take-up of this programme reflects different attitudes towards language learning, which negatively affect motivation and commitment.

“As in the other countries, however, the Scottish families which took part enjoyed doing the activities together, all the children learned many words and sentences that they were able to use independently. The project, on the whole, sends a positive message - early exposure to a second language can be very effective for future development of multilingual skills.”