The Bilingual Brain: And What It Tells Us about the Science of Language (Paperback)
Over half of the world's population is bilingual and yet few of us understand how this extraordinary, complex ability really works. How do two languages co-exist in the same brain? What are the advantages and challenges of being bilingual? How do we learn - and forget - a language?
In the first study of its kind, leading expert Albert Costa shares twenty years of experience to explore the science of language. Looking at studies and examples from Canada to France to South Korea, The Bilingual Brain investigates the significant impact of bilingualism on daily life from infancy to old age. It reveals, among other things, how babies differentiate between two languages just hours after birth, how accent affects the way in which we perceive others and even why bilinguals are better at conflict resolution.
Drawing on cutting-edge neuro-linguistic research from his own laboratory in Barcelona as well from centres across the world, and his own bilingual family, Costa offers an absorbing examination of the intricacies and impact of an extraordinary skill. Highly engaging and hugely informative, The Bilingual Brain leaves us all with a sense of wonder at how language works.
About the Author
Albert Costa was Research Professor at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and director of the Speech Production and Bilingualism Group at the Centre for Brain and Cognition. His research focused on the cognitive and neural underpinnings of language processing.
Absorbing and engagingly written. . . Costa is a charming and witty guide. This is a rigorous book about complex science but Costa has a winningly informal style, a deadpan wit, and mixes laboratory findings of cognitive neuropsychology with examples from everyday life, TV programmes, sports and politics - Patrick McGuiness - Guardian
Enlightening and astonishing. . . very readable: the prose is gentle, anecdotal, witty, personal and balanced. . . Albert Costa (a Catalan-Spanish bilingual) died last year, and this book is a great testimony to his lifetime of research into the subject - Tobias Jones - Observer
Fascinating. . . This engaging book explores just how multiple languages are acquired and sorted out by the brain. . . Costa's work derives from a great fund of knowledge, considerable curiosity and solidly scientific spirit - Phillip Hensher - Spectator
Absorbing. . . Amiably written, and reader-friendly even when delving into the minutiae of bilingualism, this compact but data-dense book throws out some intriguing ideas about the relationship of dual-language use to attitudes and behaviour - Boyd Tonkin - Art's Desk
A clear and approachable study by a renowned neurologist - - Prospect
A fascinating primer on the science of language. . . Anyone with an inquisitive mind and an interest in language in general, and certainly bilingualism specifically, will find this book a compelling read- Victoria Murphy - TES
Neuropsychologist Albert Costa spent two decades exploring bilingualism, and his book offers surprising insights - - BBC Science Focus