(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.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
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.