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The bilingual effect on Boston Naming Test performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 February 2007

TAMAR H. GOLLAN
Affiliation:
University of California San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, San Diego, California Veterans Medical Research Foundation, San Diego, California
CHRISTINE FENNEMA-NOTESTINE
Affiliation:
University of California San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, San Diego, California Veterans Medical Research Foundation, San Diego, California Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California
ROSA I. MONTOYA
Affiliation:
Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, UCSD, San Diego, California
TERRY L. JERNIGAN
Affiliation:
University of California San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, San Diego, California Veterans Medical Research Foundation, San Diego, California Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California

Abstract

The present study aimed to determine how older bilingual subjects' naming performance is affected by their knowledge of two languages. Twenty-nine aging (mean age = 74.0; SD = 7.1) Spanish–English bilinguals were asked to name all pictures in the Boston Naming Test (BNT) first in their dominant language and then in their less-dominant language. Bilinguals with similar naming scores in each language, or relatively balanced bilinguals, named more pictures correctly when credited for producing a correct name in either language. Balanced bilinguals also named fewer pictures in their dominant language than unbalanced bilinguals, and named more pictures correctly in both languages if the pictures had cognate names (e.g., dart is dardo in Spanish). Unbalanced bilinguals did not benefit from the alternative (either-language) scoring procedure and showed cognate effects only in their nondominant language. These findings may help to guide the interpretation of neuropsychological data for the purpose of determining cognitive status in older bilinguals and can be used to develop models of bilingual language processing. Bilinguals' ability to name pictures reflects their experience with word forms in both languages. (JINS, 2007, 13, 197–208.)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2007 The International Neuropsychological Society

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