New research finds that bilingual speakers can switch between languages mid-sentence without a lag — if they switch at the right time.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign investigators believe consistent use of a language for certain words appears to allow bilingual speakers to avoid the costs that comes with switching between languages.
As a result, bilingual speakers are essentially using two languages for the cognitive price of one.
“Our findings show that if bilinguals switch languages at the right times, they can do it without paying any cost,” says study author Dr. Daniel Kleinman.
“This goes against both popular belief and scientific wisdom that juggling two tasks should impair performance. But our results suggest that multi-tasking may be easier than it seems as long as people switch at the right times.”