September 4, 2013
Researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University studied 66 bilingual and 22 monolingual subjects. The researchers found that there was no difference between subjects who had learned one or two languages from birth. However, researchers noted that for subjects who learned a second language in later childhood had a thicker left inferior frontal cortex and a thinner right inferior frontal cortex. The researchers suggested that the acquiring language later in childhood stimulated neural growth, similar to growth seen in adults who learn complex motor tasks such as juggling. Researchers reported that the later in life the language was learned, the thicker the growth in the frontal cortex. The study was published in the journal Brain and Language.
Source: Klein, Mok, Chen, & Watkins (2013, June). Age of language learning shapes brain structure: A cortical thickness study of bilingual and monolingual individuals. Brain and Language.
Everyday ELL is now Every Language Learner.