Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Bilingual advantages, bilingual delays: Sometimes an illusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 August 2014


Krista Byers-Heinlein
Affiliation:
Concordia University

Extract

Studying bilingualism is complicated. Baum and Titone's Keynote Article concludes with a discussion of three particularly thorny issues in bilingualism research: (a) bilinguals are not a homogeneous group, (b) bilingualism is not randomly assigned, and (c) the effects of bilingualism are often more complicated than simple advantages or disadvantages/delays. On this latter point, Baum and Titone consider how binary thinking about bilingualism as good or bad can limit the kinds of research questions that we ask. Here, I expand on this issue by showing how some apparent bilingual advantages and disadvantages can be illusory. I describe two examples of reasonable, justifiable, and prudent experimental designs that initially led to misleading conclusions about the effects of bilingualism on development. While both of these examples are drawn from research with bilingual infants, they nonetheless have implications for how we interpret the results of studies of bilingualism across the life span.


Type
Commentaries
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Albareda-Castellot, B., Pons, F., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2011). The acquisition of phonetic categories in bilingual infants: New data from an anticipatory eye movement paradigm. Developmental Science, 14, 395401. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.00989.x CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bosch, L., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2003). Simultaneous bilingualism and the perception of a language-specific vowel contrast in the first year of life. Language and Speech, 46, 217243. doi:10.1177/00238309030460020801 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Byers-Heinlein, K., & Fennell, C. T. (2013). Perceptual narrowing in the context of increased variation: Insights from bilingual infants. Developmental Psychobiology, 118. doi:10.1002/dev.21167 Google ScholarPubMed
Fennell, C. T., & Byers-Heinlein, K. (2014). You sound like Mommy: Bilingual infants learn words best from speakers typical of their language environments. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 38, 309316. doi:10.1177/0165025414530631 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fennell, C. T., Byers-Heinlein, K., & Werker, J. F. (2007). Using speech sounds to guide word learning: The case of bilingual infants. Child Development, 78, 15101525. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01080.x CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kuhl, P. K., Conboy, B. T., Coffey-Corina, S., Padden, D., Rivera-Gaxiola, M., & Nelson, T. (2007). Phonetic learning as a pathway to language: New data and native language magnet theory expanded (NLM-e). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 363B, 9791000. doi:10.1098/rstb.2007.2154 Google Scholar
Mattock, K., Polka, L., Rvachew, S., & Krehm, M. (2010). The first steps in word learning are easier when the shoes fit: Comparing monolingual and bilingual infants. Developmental Science, 13, 229243. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00891.x CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2010). Bilingual language acquisition: Where does the difference lie? Human Development, 53, 245255. doi:10.1159/000321282 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stager, C. L., & Werker, J. F. (1997). Infants listen for more phonetic detail in speech perception than in word-learning tasks. Nature, 388, 381382. doi:10.1038/41102 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Werker, J. F., & Tees, R. C. (1984). Cross-language speech perception: Evidence for perceptual reorganization during the first year of life. Infant Behavior and Development, 7, 4963. doi:10.1016/S0163-6383(84)80022-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 66
Total number of PDF views: 469 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 6th December 2020. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-b4dcdd7-ppfm2 Total loading time: 0.223 Render date: 2020-12-06T02:23:20.257Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Sun Dec 06 2020 02:01:13 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": true, "relatedCommentaries": true, "subject": true, "clr": false, "languageSwitch": true }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Bilingual advantages, bilingual delays: Sometimes an illusion
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Bilingual advantages, bilingual delays: Sometimes an illusion
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Bilingual advantages, bilingual delays: Sometimes an illusion
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *