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Another Fun Quiz on Bilingualism! Test Your Knowledge!

It's Quiz Time!

It’s time for another quiz!

For this new quiz, I’ve created questions based on information found in Colin Baker’s book A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism. To read my review of this fine book, as well as an insightful interview with the author, see Recommended Resources: “A Parents’ and Teachers Guide to Bilingualism” by Colin Baker.

Good luck!

1. Research shows that the human fetus can respond to sounds from the external world—which has implications for bilingual development—from around how many weeks in the womb?
a. Around 18 to 20 weeks
b. Around 22 to 24 weeks
c. Around 26 to 28 weeks
d. Around 30 to 32 weeks

Ready for the answer? Just click open this box!
b. Around 22 to 24 weeks (Dr. Baker remarks: “Speech sounds in two languages, particularly when they are consistent and persistent, will become part of the learning environment of the fetus.”)

2. The “one person-one language” (OPOL) approach is a well-known strategy for nurturing a child’s bilingual ability. How old is the term “one person-one language”?
a. Over 50 years old
b. Over 100 years old
c. Over 200 years old
d. Over 500 years old

OPOL can be effective, but proactive efforts are often needed to provide sufficient exposure in the minority language.
b. Over 100 years old (Dr. Baker cites a French book by Maurice Grammont, published in 1902, which uses the term une personne-une langue.)

3. Fred Genesee, a top Canadian expert on childhood bilingualism, has estimated that children need a certain minimum amount of exposure in the minority language, as a percentage of their total language input, in order for bilingualism to proceed well. What is that percentage?
a. 20%
b. 30%
c. 40%
d. 50%

There's no 'magic number' for exposure in the minority language, but this is a good benchmark for most families, I think.
b. 30% (As I mention in How Many Hours Per Week Is Your Child Exposed to the Minority Language?, 30% of a child’s waking hours translates to roughly 25 hours of meaningful exposure per week.)

4. What metaphor does Dr. Baker use to convey how two languages are stored in the brain?
a. Two icebergs
b. A flower garden
c. Fraternal twins
d. An egg with a double yolk

Are you doing well so far? This question is a bit tougher!
a. Two icebergs (Dr. Baker explains: “Two icebergs are separated above the waterline. A bilingual’s two languages are separate when speaking. Below the surface of the water, they are fused. A bilingual’s two languages are joined together beneath the surface in the operating area of the brain.”)

5. Language delay—when a child is very late in beginning to talk, or lags well behind peers in language development—is often wrongly attributed to bilingualism. Language delay has a variety of causes, but the precise reason is not known in what percentage of cases?
a. Approximately one-fourth
b. Approximately one-half
c. Approximately two-thirds
d. Approximately three-fourths

Language delay is not uncommon. Apparently, even Albert Einstein was a late talker!
c. Approximately two-thirds (If you’re concerned about your child’s language development, it may be wise to consult a speech-language pathologist in your area, preferably someone with experience of bilingual children.)

6. Research conducted by Ellen Bialystock, of York University in Canada, has shown that, on average, bilinguals show symptoms of Alzheimer’s later than monolinguals. How many years later?
a. 1 to 3 years later
b. 4 to 6 years later
c. 7 to 8 years later
d. 9 to 10 years later

Bilingualism provides health benefits, too, on top of so many other advantages.
b. 4 to 6 years later (“This doesn’t mean that bilinguals avoid Alzheimer’s disease,” notes Dr. Baker, “but that their improved cognitive functioning allows them to cope better and for longer.”)

7. What is one potential disadvantage of bilingualism reported by Dr. Baker?
a. The child mixes the two languages and develops the poor habit of code-switching.
b. The child goes through a “silent period” where they refuse to speak any language at all.
c. Both languages are underdeveloped and the child is unable to cope in school in either language.
d. Both languages have low prestige and this negatively affects the child’s self-esteem.

Another downside he mentions is well known to most parents: the significant amount of effort this challenge requires!
c. Both languages are underdeveloped and the child is unable to cope in school in either language. (Dr. Baker writes: “Negative thinking effects will only arise in a small minority of cases when a child’s two languages are both underdeveloped. When a child cannot cope in the curriculum in either language, a child’s thinking may be disadvantaged.”)

8. What is meant by “passive” or “receptive” bilingualism?
a. Showing a negative attitude toward the second language because of its perceived lack of prestige
b. Showing only interest in reading and writing a second language, not communicating in that language
c. Being able to understand (and sometimes read) in a second language without speaking or writing in that language
d. Being able to speak the second language, but refusing to do so because both parents speak the majority language

This one isn't too hard, right?
c. Being able to understand (and sometimes read) in a second language without speaking or writing in that language (Even passive ability is an important achievement because this ability can then be “activated” in the future, when the time is right.)

9. What is the term used for situations where the second (majority) language becomes dominant, even replacing a child’s first (minority) language, as with some immigrant families?
a. Semilingual
b. Language loss
c. Sequential bilingualism
d. Subtractive bilingualism

Ideally, the child's first language will continue to be nurtured alongside the new second language.
d. Subtractive bilingualism (The opposite is “additive bilingualism,” where the second language is added to the first.)

10. The movement for Immersion Bilingual Educationwhere children are immersed in the second language, often from the start of their schoolingbegan in 1965 in which country?
a. Canada
b. The United States
c. Switzerland
d. Finland

You've made it to the last question of this little quiz! Well done!
a. Canada (Immersion Bilingual Education began with an experimental kindergarten class of 26 English-speaking children in Montreal. The immersion language was French.)

Now give these two quizzes a try, too…

What Do You Know About Bilingualism? Take This Quiz and Test Your Knowledge! (based on the book Bilingual: Life and Reality by François Grosjean)

Take This Quiz on Bilingual Acquisition in Children! How Many Will You Get Right? (based on the book Bilingual First Language Acquisition by Annick De Houwer)

How about you? How did you do on this quiz? (And be sure to try my first quiz on bilingualism, too!)

7 Responses

  1. Hello Adam,

    Amazing questions but so precise!

    For information, I did a chronicle about the Ronjat’s book (100 years old, which he wrote thanks to the advices of his friend Grammont) in my blog.

    Using Esperanto, I think I succeed with far less than 30% exposure because of the regularity of the language and the proximity between French and Esperanto. For sure, I would advise 30% or more in Korean to succeed in Korean/Esperanto, for example.


    1. Cyrille, it was nice to hear from you. Thanks for your helpful comment. I hope you and your kids are having a fun and Esperanto-filled summer!

      1. For sure, Amy is in London and Mary in Leipzig. As soon as they come back, we all move to Stockholm to meet friends. They will talk French for only 2 weeks!

  2. Thank you for this fantastic quiz, Adam!

    I’ve had the chance to follow some lessons on bilingualism with François Grosjean in Zurich.

    I have a question concerning the answer under 4.: I know that you refer to Bakers book, but wasn’t it J. Cummins who used the iceberg model for his dual interdependence hypothesis (if I’m not mistaken in 1978) first?

    1. Ute, I’m glad you enjoyed this little quiz!

      As for the iceberg idea, you may be right, but I don’t really know where this metaphor first appeared. It’s also true, of course, that icebergs are a fairly common metaphor in many domains so it doesn’t surprise me that both men have reached for it in their work.

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Welcome to Bilingual Monkeys!

I’m Adam Beck, the founder of this blog and The Bilingual Zoo, a lively worldwide forum for parents raising bilingual or multilingual kids. I’m also the author of the popular books Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability and Bilingual Success Stories Around the World. I’ve been an educator and writer in this field for 25 years as well as the parent of two bilingual children, now 19 and 16. I hope my work can help empower the success of your bilingual journey.

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