How do bilinguals and monolinguals differ? Flashcards Preview

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What are the advantages of being bilingual?

Overlap between brain areas that control language and cognitive functioning - this means they should be better at cognitive tasks such as:
executive function/inhibitory control
theory of mind


Why should bilinguals have good cognitive skills?

Because their mind has to lots of things


Why would bilinguals have better executive function/inhibition?

Bilinguals must manage two competing overlapping language systems so they must be better at executive function/inhibitory control (inhibiting control/responses)


Executive control/inhibition evidence

Bilingual children better at: finding embedded figures
identifying correct grammar in odd sentences

Bilingual adults better at:
stroop task, Simon task -interaction with age, older showed a greater benefit


When is executive control/inhibition disadvantageous?

Trilinguals had to name. number 2
Naming slowed down when English/German/English - because had to inhibit English to access German response
compared to French/German/English - because didn't have to suppress any responses

negative priming slows down responses


Why would bilinguals have a better theory of mind?

Bilinguals must realise that different people speak different languages - learning that everyone is different, other people must think differently than they do


Evidence for a better theory of mind

Bilingual children better on perspective taking and false belief tasks
three tasks:
standard TOM - false belief
modified TOM - mimic language scenarios
control - check it want just individual differences


Why would bilinguals have a better memory?

They have to learn and remember multiple words for the same/similar concepts/ideas

so they may be better at remembering


Evidence for a better memory

Evidence is mixed depending on who you test and how

some show a bilingual advantage for Simon task

some show no advantage on pointing task


Why do bilinguals show improved performance on particular cognitive tasks?

Due to increased demand for managing two language systems


A note on disadvantages of bilingualism

Research does not happen in a void - cultural, social, politial, emotional aspects

long history of suppressing and discouraging bilingualism - framing it as a bad thing to stop people communicating with their culture

language control and cultural, society and personal control - an inform policies


Disadvantages of bilinguals

Language acquisition
Understand less words
Slower at lexical retrieval
Semantic fluency
Phonological fluency


Language acquisition in children

Both monolinguals and bilingual children achieve 50 words by bout 1.5 years in total

however, bilingual children know fewer words in each language
subject to usual difficulty of counting words


Receptive vocab in children

Receptive - words they can understand
monolinguals scored higher - indicating larger vocal
depending on type of word
words from school - no difference
words from home - lower scores for bilinguals, could be that they know the words but only in own language


Lexical retrieval

Slower at lexical retrieval (picture naming) - think of a word
more tip of the tongue states - due to interference of other language


Semantic fluency

Name category members
Bilinguals produce fewer words - due to smaller vocal

English speaking students in Spanish lang environment for one year performed worse on this task than untraveled monolinguals


Phonological fluency

Effortful production - producing words that start with a particular letter
requires monitoring and controlling attention - bilinguals should be better at this

when vocal is matched, bilingual disadvantage disappears for for semantic task and advantage emerges for phonological task