Bilingualism-Nursing Paper Examples

Human beings express themselves figuratively, verbally, and manually (written) through language as participants of an asocial group or culture. Unlike animals that communicate through sounds and gestures, humans produce speech. Language promotes connection and communication with the world by shaping how people think, behave, or think. Significant cognitive benefits come from learning and using more than one language. The paper summarizes major research findings on bilingualism, discusses its advantages and disadvantages, recommends an approach for second language acquisition, and increases cognitive function in different functional settings.

Research Review

Bilingualism benefits the neural, cognitive, and social aspects of human beings. As such, different researchers concur that bilingualism enhances executive functions allowing people to perform tasks demanding cognitive flexibility (Marion & Shock, 2012; Genesee, 2015; Bialystok et al., 2012). Studies in neuroimaging claim that bilingualism plays a vital role in shaping neurocognitive patterns and structures linked to language. According to Bialystok et al., 2012 neural network reorganization improves cognitive control during childhood through adulthood.

Subsequently, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies assert that bilinguals can control attention compared to monolingual counterparts since they easily identify stimuli and inhibit noise (Marion & Shock, 2012). Bilingualism greatly benefits an individual’s concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills. By so doing, people can perform inhibitory control and switch attention flawlessly (Genesee, 2015). Further research claims bilingualism provides cognitive reserves that allow the brain to sustain brain function during old age. Activation of each language improves executive control and protects the brain from cognitive decline. Thus, bilinguals suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life than monolinguals.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Bilingualism

Bilingualism allows people to comprehend and speak two different languages. One of the primary advantages of bilingualism is that it improves cognitive abilities such as memory, problem-solving, and learning (Marion & Shock, 2012). Elbedour et al. (2019) revealed that school-aged bilingual children scored higher on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale than their monolingual counterparts. However, Samuel et al. (2018) elaborated further that cognitive benefits vary with age. In this case, introducing a new language may have a small impact on their cognitive ability since they are at their peak in cognitive ability levels. At the same time, children may not even see the impact of bilingualism.

Secondly, the development of sophisticated cognitive and neurological structures has made it advantageous for human beings to be bilingual and multilingual. One of the main advantages is that bilingualism promotes intercultural connection. Positive intercultural relationships bring people together through increased comprehension of different cultural backgrounds, values, practices, and beliefs to connect people across the globe. In this case, people who learn different languages also learn about the involved individuals’ culture. For that reason, individuals continue to learn, speak, and teach different languages, to promote positive cultural continuity.  

While bilingualism has immense advantages, it has several disadvantages. Each language an individual speaks and comprehends is simultaneously activated inside the brain. Engaging cognitive function implies that the understood languages compete within the brain. The mentioned reason allows bilinguals to recall a word’s details but forget the actual word or even to name pictures or objects slowly. Individuals who maintain a balance between languages have a high cognitive function. However, competition between spoken languages elicits confusion between listeners and speakers.

Approach to Second Language Acquisition

Choosing the right language is the best approach toward second language acquisition. Learning a second language requires new learners to be interested in the new language and information to be motivated. Secondly, classroom instruction is more effective than formal immersion programs for second language learners (L2). However, Godwin-Jones (2019) claims that formal immersion programs are beneficial for people displaced from their native homes or individuals who are thrust into a foreign culture.

People are innovating informal ways to learn new languages, such as digital systems. Godwin-Jones further claims that YouTube videos and short conversations on Facebook or WhatsApp are efficient for acquiring a second language. Also, a second language can be learned through experience consistent with science. Neuroplasticity elaborates on how experiences shape peoples’ behavior and brain structures. In this case, the immersion of learners in an L2 environment leads to neurological and functional modifications that promote bilingualism.

Of importance, Godwin-Jones (2019) emphasizes that the best approach for a second language (L2) is community-based. In this approach, second language learners should have direct interaction and access to the native speakers’ target language and be thrust into the L2 environment to encourage a multi-modal interaction and relationship between the L2 environment and the learners. Experimental approach and community-based to second language learning allow learners to experience and explore the culture and the context of the language they intend to learn. Therefore, a community-based approach allows learners to create meaningful connections and positive relationships with the native community, thus making the learning process easier and more enjoyable.

Recommended Approach to Increase Cognitive Function in Professional Settings

Formal immersion programs are crucial to increasing cognitive function in contemporary professional settings. For instance, professionals should take cultural field trips to L2 environments to learn about specific things about native languages, such as their foods, or engage in sports/cultural practices, reading native books and watching movies. Professionals can also use digital platforms to learn new languages that are linked to improved cognitive ability. Notably, immersion programs allow professionals to learn through experiences, test themselves, and apply what they have learned. For that reason, professionals develop teamwork skills, communication, judgment, proactivity, and decision-making. High cognitive skills increase cognitive flexibility, attention, memory, and problem-solving skills, which are vital in any professional setting.


In summary, language promotes connection and communication with the world by shaping how people think, behave or think. Of importance, there are significant cognitive benefits that come from learning and using more than one language. In this case, bilingualism improves the cognitive function of individuals who understand more than one language. However, if managed properly, bilingualism can result in clarity from language completion. Notably, modern technology has been widely used as a platform for people to learn second languages (L2). Of importance, bilingualism in a professional setting improves productivity and efficiency since workers have a high problem-solving capacity and improved work attention and memory.


Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I., & Luk, G. (2012). Bilingualism: consequences for mind and brain. Trends in cognitive sciences16(4), 240-250.

Elbedour, S., Sawan, M., Bawalsah, J., Mariam, A., Tarawneh, H., & Reed, G. (2019). The relationship between bilingualism and cognitive development among Saudi Arabian school-aged children. International Journal of Child Health & Human Development, 12(2), 161-169

Genesee, F. (2015). Myths about early childhood bilingualism. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne56(1), 6.

Godwin‐Jones, R. (2019). Future directions in informal language learning. The handbook of informal language learning, 457-470.

Marian, V., & Shook, A. (2012, September). The cognitive benefits of being bilingual. In Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science (Vol. 2012). Dana Foundation.

Samuel, S., Roehr‐Brackin, K., Pak, H., & Kim, H. (2018). Cultural effects rather than a bilingual advantage in cognition: A review and an empirical study. Cognitive Science42(7), 2313-2341.

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