Speaking multiple languages can influence children’s emotional development

August 2, 2012 in Psychology & Psychiatry

On the classic TV show “I Love Lucy,” Ricky Ricardo was known for switching into rapid-fire Spanish whenever he was upset, despite the fact Lucy had no idea what her Cuban husband was saying. These scenes were comedy gold, but they also provided a relatable portrayal of the linguistic phenomenon of code-switching.

This kind of code-switching, or switching back and forth between different languages, happens all the time in multilingual environments, and often in emotional situations. In a new article in the July issue of , a journal of the Association for , psychological scientists Stephen Chen and Qing Zhou of the University of California, Berkeley and Morgan Kennedy of Bard College delve deeper into this linguistic phenomenon.

Drawing on research from psychology and , the researchers seek to better understand how using different languages to discuss and express emotions in a multilingual family might play an important role in children’s emotional development. They propose that the particular parents choose to use when discussing and expressing emotion can have significant impacts on children’s emotional understanding, experience, and regulation.

Read more…  Article provided by Terrie Armstrong.

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