Bilingualism: An Asset or a Liability?
A new study by researchers Maria Medvedeva and Alejandro Portes contributes to the ongoing debate about bilingual advantage and examines whether bilingual immigrant youths fare better, as well as, or worse academically than the matching group of monolinguals. Using data from Spain, where close to half of immigrants speak Spanish as their native language, they found no evidence of costs of bilingualism:
Bilingual youths did benefit from their linguistic skills. Their advantage, however, manifested itself not uniformly across discrete outcomes, but in a direct trajectory toward higher educational attainment. Bilingualism neutralized the possible negative effect of ethnic origins and extended the positive effect of high parental ambition. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.