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We investigated changes in self-representation depending on language in Friulian–Italian bilinguals. The Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and the Junior-TCI were administered respectively to 24 adults and 25 children, both in Friulian and in Italian, at a distance of two weeks from each other. Variations in TCI were detected: both adults and children scored higher in Self-Directedness (a character trait) when using Italian than Friulian. Similar findings were observed for Novelty-Seeking (a temperament trait) in children and Cooperativeness (another character trait) in adults. Results are discussed considering previous studies on bilingualism and within the frame of the Friulian sociolinguistic context.
Hearing words in sentences facilitates word recognition in monolingual children. Many children grow up receiving input in multiple languages – including exposure to sentences that ‘mix’ the languages. We explored Spanish–English bilingual toddlers’ (n = 24) ability to identify familiar words in three conditions: (i) single word (ball!); (ii) same-language sentence (Where's the ball?); or (iii) mixed-language sentence (Dónde está la ball?). Children successfully identified words across conditions; however, the advantage linked to hearing words in sentences was present only in the same-language condition. This work hence suggests that language mixing plays an important role on bilingual children's ability to recognize spoken words.
Adults with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) often show deficits in executive function (EF), including the ability to inhibit, switch, and attend to task relevant information. Although performances differences between bilinguals and monolinguals have been observed in EF tasks, there is little research on the effect of TBI on EF in bilinguals. In this study, an ecologically valid standardized measure and experimental computerized tasks of EF were administered to Spanish-English bilingual adults with and without history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).
Twenty-two bilinguals with a history of mTBI [mean age=20.1 years, SD=3.7; education=13.4 years, SD=0.7] and 20 control bilinguals [mean age=20.8 years, SD=3.6; education=13.7 years, SD=1.1], matched for age and education, completed language proficiency questionnaires, the Functional Assessment of Verbal Reasoning and Executive Strategies (FAVRES), English and Spanish language assessments, and a Flanker task (a test of inhibition).
Performance was analyzed using analyses of covariance. The results revealed that bilinguals with a history of mTBI performed worse on both the standardized assessment (FAVRES) and inhibition task. Interestingly, self-reported EF deficits were consistent with performance on these measures.
The findings of this study provide useful information regarding assessment of EF deficits in bilinguals with a history mTBI. Computerized experimental tasks of EF may also prove useful in the assessment of EF in individuals with mTBI.
This study investigates the extent to which internal and contextual factors moderate the linguistic interdependence between receptive vocabulary skills in emergent bilingual children. Such factors are frequently related to first (L1) and second language (L2) skills, but few studies have examined their concurrent influence on the cross-language relationship, or have linked the results to the two main explanatory models for interdependence: common underlying proficiency or individual differences. Using a cross-sectional correlational design, concept comprehension was bilingually assessed in 154 children of Turkish background (aged 4 to 6), attending Flemish preschool. Regression analyses revealed that Turkish L1 vocabulary size significantly predicted Dutch L2 vocabulary size, which is in line with interdependence theories. Age, preschool grade, and L2 use at home positively predicted L2 vocabulary. Newly arrived immigrant status and maternal education (partly) predicted L2 vocabulary negatively, the latter especially in 3rd preschool grade. Concerning moderation, indications were found for weakening interdependence for high L2 use at home (3rd preschool grade) and newly arrived immigrant status. Overall, our findings implicate that interdependence in emergent bilinguals’ vocabulary depends on the examined factors to a limited degree only. Finally, our data point to the individual differences model, rather than the common underlying proficiency model of linguistic interdependence.
While numerous studies have recently shown that variation in input quantity predicts children’s rate of acquisition across a range of language skills, comparatively little is known about the impact of variation in input quality on (bilingual) children’s language development. This study investigated the relation between specific quality-oriented properties of bilingual children’s input and measures of children’s language development across a number of skills while at the same time taking family constellation into account. Participants were bilingual preschoolers (n = 50) acquiring Dutch alongside another language. Preschoolers’ receptive and productive vocabulary and morphosyntax in Dutch were assessed. Parental questionnaires were used to derive estimates of input quality. Family constellation was first operationalized as presence of a native-speaker parent and subsequently in terms of patterns of parental language use. Results showed that proportion of native input and having a native-speaker parent were never significant predictors of children’s language skills, whereas the degree of non-nativeness in the input, family constellation in terms of parental language use, and language richness were. This study shows that what matters is not how much exposure bilingual children have to native rather than non-native speakers, but how proficient any non-native speakers are.
Using a historical institutionalist approach, I demonstrate how institutionalized norms stemming from the liberal tradition in America have informed its language regime by tracing the path dependency of language policy and the critical junctures when changing norms lead to policy shifts. In the early republic, liberal norms enshrined in the Constitution informed a minimalist language regime. At the turn of the 19th century, norms shifted to reflect rapid industrialization and mass immigration, informing attempts at restrictive language policies. At the critical juncture of the civil rights movement, the monolingual language regime was challenged by new norms of what constituted a liberal democratic society. Neoliberal norms of the Reagan presidency facilitated the success of the English-only movement in changing language policies at the state-level. Neoliberal cosmopolitanism of the new millennium re-introduced minimal multilingual policy initiatives. I conclude by suggesting that Trump’s election represents a shift to nationalist, albeit possibly illiberal, norms.
This chapter examines the common assumption that Canadian Official Bilingualism of French and English fosters progressive and tolerant multiculturalism, including multilingualism of any non-official variety. The chapter uses the former Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada (2006-16), Graham Fraser, to interrogate the argument that the Canadian English/French language duality, having two Official Languages, is positively connected to general multilingualism and with it an openness towards a multitude of languages and cultures that make up Canadian society. After a shorter discussion of a similar position held by former Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin (2000-17), this chapter turns to the theoretical grounding of such positions in the work of Charles Taylor. Ultimately this chapter questions the extent to which these celebrations of bilingualism really foster a truly multilingual and egalitarian multicultural society, although it appreciates and agrees with their insistence that language and culture are deeply inextricable.
There is growing evidence that the orthographic forms (spellings) of second language words affect second language (L2) speech production, but it is not known whether orthography affects L2 phonology in native users of a non-alphabetic writing system. To answer this question, this study tested the effects of number of letters on the duration of consonants and vowels in the EnglishL2 speech production of Japanese–English sequential bilinguals. JapaneseL1–EnglishL2 bilinguals and English native speakers (both n = 16) performed a delayed word repetition task, producing 16 English word pairs in which the same consonant or vowel was spelled either with a single letter or with double letters, as in city-kitty. The bilinguals produced the same English sound as longer or shorter depending on the number of letters in its spelling, confirming that L2 orthographic forms affect L2 speakers’ phonological representations of L2 words even when their L1 writing system is not alphabetical.
The current study investigates how bilingual children encode and produce morphologically complex words. We employed a silent-production-plus-delayed-vocalization paradigm in which event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded during silent encoding of inflected words which were subsequently cued to be overtly produced. The bilingual children's spoken responses and their ERPs were compared to previous datasets from monolingual children on the same task. We found an enhanced negativity for regular relative to irregular forms during silent production in both bilingual children's languages, replicating the ERP effect previously obtained from monolingual children. Nevertheless, the bilingual children produced more morphological errors (viz. over-regularizations) than monolingual children. We conclude that mechanisms of morphological encoding (as measured by ERPs) are parallel for bilingual and monolingual children, and that the increased over-regularization rates are due to their reduced exposure to each of the two languages (relative to monolingual children).
This study investigates the relationship between mechanisms involved in language control within dual- and single-language contexts by examining whether they are similarly impaired in bilingual PD patients. To do so, we explored the performance of bilingual individuals affected by PD and healthy controls on two linguistic tasks: between-language and within-language switching tasks. We focused on switch and mixing costs as measures of linguistic control.
The results indicate that, whereas larger switch costs were observed in PD patients, compared to controls, solely during the between-language task, larger mixing costs appeared during both the between-language task and the within-language task. These results are discussed within the framework of the dual mechanism hypothesis, which suggests that switch and mixing costs are measures of two types of control: specifically reactive and proactive control. Therefore, we conclude that reactive control for switching between languages is domain-specific while proactive control mechanisms are more domain-general.
Bilingual infants vary in when, how, and how often they hear each of their languages. Variables such as the particular languages of exposure, the community context, the onset of exposure, the amount of exposure, and socioeconomic status are crucial for describing any bilingual infant sample. Parent report is an effective approach for gathering data about infants’ language experience. However, its quality is highly dependent on how information is elicited. This paper introduces a Multilingual Approach to Parent Language Estimates (MAPLE). MAPLE promotes best practices for using structured interviews to reliably elicit information from parents on bilingual infants’ language background, with an emphasis on the challenging task of quantifying infants’ relative exposure to each language. We discuss sensitive issues that must be navigated in this process, including diversity in family characteristics and cultural values. Finally, we identify six systematic effects that can impact parent report, and strategies for minimizing their influence.
We spend much of our time consuming stories across different types of media, often becoming deeply engaged or transported into these stories. However, there has been almost no research into whether processing a story in one’s non-native language influences our level of transportation. We analyzed three existing datasets in order to compare engagement with English-language stories for those who reported English as their first language and those who reported English as their second language. Stories were presented as text (Study 1), audio (Study 2), and short films (Study 3). Across all studies, equivalent levels of narrative transportation between language groups were found, even after accounting for age and years of English fluency. These results are in contrast to some previous proposals that emotional reactions are attenuated during non-native language processing, despite equivalent levels of comprehension. Our evidence indicates that individuals processing a narrative in their second language feel just as transported into the story as those processing the same narrative in their native language.
Although there is a body of work investigating code-switching (alternation between two languages in production) in the preschool period, it largely relies on case studies or very small samples. The current work seeks to extend extant research by exploring the development of code-switching longitudinally from 31 to 39 months of age in two distinct groups of bilingual children: Spanish–English children in San Diego and French–English children in Montréal. In two studies, consistent with previous research, children code-switched more often between than within utterances and code-switched more content than function words. Additionally, children code-switched more from Spanish or French to English than the reverse. Importantly, the factors driving the rate of code-switching differed across samples such that exposure was the most important predictor of code-switching in Spanish–English children whereas proficiency was the more important predictor in French–English children.
This study analyzes language choice, bi- and multilingualism, and gender in a corpus of over 22 million Twitter messages by almost 36,000 authors from the Nordic countries and territories. Author location, gender, and tweet language are identified using a novel method. Three principal findings are discussed: First, gendered preference for particular languages in the Nordics can be explained in part by patterns of gendered migration. Second, a distinct geographical pattern of female/male preference for the national languages of the region and for English is evident for users who are likely native users of a Nordic language: Females are more likely to use English, while males are more likely to use a Nordic language. Third, while high rates of bi- and multilingualism are found across the whole sample, males are more likely to use more than one language in all the Nordic countries/territories. The latter two findings are interpreted in light of sociolinguistic considerations as evidence for incipient language shift towards English for Nordic users on the Twitter platform.
This paper investigates whether there are changes in gesture rate when speakers of two languages with different gesture rates (Turkish-high gesture; Dutch-low gesture) come into daily contact. We analyzed gestures produced by second-generation heritage speakers of Turkish in the Netherlands in each language, comparing them to monolingual baselines. We did not find differences between bilingual and monolingual speakers, possibly because bilinguals were proficient in both languages and used them frequently – in line with a usage-based approach to language. However, bilinguals produced more deictic gestures than monolinguals in both Turkish and Dutch, which we interpret as a bilingual strategy. Deictic gestures may help organize discourse by placing entities in gesture space and help reduce the cognitive load associated with being bilingual, e.g., inhibition cost. Therefore, gesture rate does not necessarily change in contact situations but might be modulated by frequency of language use, proficiency, and cognitive factors related to being bilingual.
How bilinguals switch between languages depends on the context. In a voluntary context, bilinguals are free to decide when to switch, whereas in a cued context they are instructed when to switch. While using two languages may be more costly than using one in cued switching ('mixing cost'), recent evidence suggests that voluntarily using two languages may be less effortful than using one ('mixing benefit'). Direct comparisons between mandatory and voluntary switching, however, are needed to better understand the effects of the interactional context on bilingual language control. The current study compared mandatory and voluntary switching within the same task, thus keeping the overall task characteristics the same. We observed overall slower mandatory responses and larger mandatory than voluntary mixing and switching effects. Thus, using two languages is more costly in a mandatory than voluntary context, showing that the interactional context can affect the effort needed to control two languages.
Bilingualism has been said to improve cognition and even delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This research aimed to investigate whether bilingualism leaves a neurophysiological trace even when people are highly educated. We expected bilinguals to present better preserved brain functional networks, which could be a trace of higher cognitive reserve. With this purpose, we conducted a magnetoencephalographic study with a group of healthy older adults. We estimated functional connectivity using phase-locking value and found five clusters in parieto-occipital regions in which bilinguals exhibited greater functional connectivity than monolinguals. These clusters included brain regions typically implicated in language processing. Furthermore, these functional changes correlated with caudate volumes (a key region in language shifting and control) in the bilingual sample. Interestingly, decreased Functional Connectivity between posterior brain regions had already been identified as an indicator of aging/preclinical AD but, according to our study, bilingualism seems to exert the opposite effect.
The language history questionnaire (LHQ) is an important tool for assessing the linguistic background and language proficiency of multilinguals or second language learners. Previously we developed a generic LHQ based on the most commonly asked questions in published studies (Li, Sepanski & Zhao, 2006) and provided a web-based interface (LHQ 2.0) that has flexibility in functionality, accuracy in data recording, and privacy for users and data (Li, Zhang, Tsai & Puls, 2014). LHQ3 (version 3) introduces new functions, developed in response to many comments/requests from users. One important improvement is the addition of an automatic scoring system, in that the new interface automatically calculates aggregated scores for language proficiency, language dominance, and language immersion levels. Finally, LHQ3 allows researchers to assign different weights to the modules when calculating the aggregated scores, addressing the issue of different focuses that different researchers put on multilingual speakers’ language usage and background.
A large sample study (n = 513) was conducted to investigate executive control performance in pupils following an immersion education program. We recruited 10-year-old children (n = 128) and 16-year-old adolescents (n = 127) who were enrolled in English or Dutch immersion education in French-speaking Belgium for at least 4 school years. They were compared to non-immersed children (n = 102) and adolescents (n = 156) on a number of executive control tasks assessing inhibitory control, monitoring, switching and attentional abilities. Several control variables such as receptive vocabulary, nonverbal intelligence, socioeconomic status and other potentially relevant background variables were also considered. Our results show significant gains in foreign-language proficiency for the immersed compared to the non-immersed participants. These gains were however not associated with any measurable benefits on executive control. Our findings make a unique contribution to understanding how language and cognition develop through formal education methods that promote bilingualism.
Matching participants (as suggested by Hope, 2015) may be one promising option for research on a potential bilingual advantage in executive functions (EF). In this study we first compared performances in three EF-tasks of a naturally heterogeneous sample of monolingual (n = 69, age = 9.0 y) and multilingual children (n = 57, age = 9.3 y). Secondly, we meticulously matched participants pairwise to obtain two highly homogeneous groups to rerun our analysis and investigate a potential bilingual advantage. The initally disadvantaged multilinguals (regarding socioeconomic status and German lexicon size) performed worse in updating and response inhibition, but similarly in interference inhibition. This indicates that superior EF compensate for the detrimental effects of the background variables. After matching children pairwise on age, gender, intelligence, socioeconomic status and German lexicon size, performances became similar except for interference inhibition. Here, an advantage for multilinguals in the form of globally reduced reaction times emerged, indicating a bilingual executive processing advantage.