(Aug. 30, 2011)--Research conducted at the University of Washington (UW) Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences suggests that the brains of bilingual babies remain open to learning a second language longer than the brains of monolingual babies. Furthermore, the research suggests that a baby's opportunity to learn a second language may begin to fade as early as the baby's first birthday.
The UW research is the next chapter in the Bilingual Baby Project, a collaborative language acquisition study conducted from 2005 to 2009 by neuroscientists, sociologists and educators at UW, the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), the UTSA Mexico Center and the University of Redlands in Redlands, Calif.
UTSA researchers included Sophia Ortiz, CAPRI assistant director, Maria Rodriguez, a student research assistant, and Nicole Wicha, assistant professor of neuroscience in the Department of Biology and a member of the UTSA Neurosciences Institute.
Through home visits and neural laboratory studies, UTSA researchers found that bilingual babies demonstrated flexibility when labeling objects in one language or the other. While conducting the Bilingual Baby Project, they also found that the amount of exposure to each language, the strategies the babies' parents used to promote bilingualism in their homes and parents' desires to raise bilingual children were very important in their babies' bilingual comprehension.
The neural research conducted on monolingual and bilingual babies at UW confirms UTSA's findings and offers a more pinpointed time frame for bilingual language acquisition: one year from birth.
"Our research indicated that the early years of a child's life are an ideal time for a child to be exposed to rich language experiences," said Harriett Romo, CAPRI director. "The collaborative research conducted with the University of Washington further pinpoints key developmental stages the optimal age for language acquisition during the baby's first year."
UW researchers plan to continue the study, focusing next on how the brain aides bilingual language acquisition and school readiness.
>> Read about the study in the Aug. 17 issue of the Journal of Phonetics.
UTSA researchers are exploring matter at the atomic level with Helenita. It's one of the most powerful microscopes in the world, with the ability to operate near the theoretical limit of resolution. At 9 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing more than two tons, Helenita can dissect almost anything. With Helenita's resolution, researchers can study particles atom by atom to see how they behave.
That's critical in developing nanotechnology that will help diagnosis early-stage breast cancer or make helmets that are uber strong. Moreover, the detail that Helenita provides will allow nanotechnology researchers to create new therapies and treatments to fight a wide range of human diseases.
Did you know? Helenita can magnify a sample 20 million times its size, which would make a strand of human hair the size of San Antonio.
Join AIA San Antonio’s Women in Architecture group for their networking and happy hour event, where all design professionals are welcome.
Liberty Bar, 1111 S. Alamo St.
This documentary, presented by the San Antonio Film Festival, documents the experience of re-entry after incarceration. The film features Michael Gilbert, associate professor in the department of criminal justice and director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice program at UTSA.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle
Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd.
This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.
Victor Cyrus, Jr will see his first book of poetry published this fall
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.