Antonella Sorace

Antonella Sorace
The University of Edinburgh | UoE · School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

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140
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Publications (140)
Preprint
Background: While being bilingual (knowing 2 or more languages) is becoming a more common experience globally, little is known about the combined experience of bilingualism and autism. Research currently available focuses on quantifying language and cognitive development, and the only two qualitative accounts of first-hand experiences are from eith...
Article
The linguistic profile of bilingual children is known to show areas of overlap with that of children affected by Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), creating a need to differentiate the profiles and provide clinicians with tools to evaluate bilingual speakers in both of their languages. Data from typical adult bilinguals provide a picture of the...
Article
The current study examined cognitive effects of two pathways of second language (L2) acquisition longitudinally in Chinese speakers learning English in an L2-dominant environment. Thirty-nine participants who attended an intensive 10-week English course (L2-instruction group) were compared to 38 participants who attended regular university courses...
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The current study sought to investigate whether word properties can facilitate the identification of developmental language disorder (DLD) in sequential bilinguals by analyzing properties in nouns and verbs in L2 spontaneous speech as potential DLD markers. Measures of semantic (imageability, concreteness), lexical (frequency, age of acquisition) a...
Preprint
Please note this paper has been published ahead of print in Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism: Digard, B. G., & Sorace, A. (2021). Bringing together autism and bilingualism research: Language matters. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.21071.digPlease do not cite this preprint. - (Commentary to keynote by Philipp...
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Although bilingualism is generally appraised and supported by society, many more doubts arise when it comes to children suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders. The concern that the exposure to two languages might deteriorate the linguistic development of children, together with the advice to simplify the linguistic environment and to adopt a m...
Article
Studies examining the potential effects of bilingualism on interference suppression show inconsistent results. Our study approaches this topic by distinguishing two potential subcomponents within interference suppression (i.e., Stimulus-Stimulus and Stimulus-Response conflict). We investigated the two subcomponents through their operationalisation...
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One factor that may influence how executive functions develop is exposure to more than one language in childhood. This study explored the impact of bilingualism on inhibitory control in autistic (n = 38) and non-autistic children (n = 51). Bilingualism was measured on a continuum of exposure to investigate the effects of language environment on two...
Preprint
Research suggests that autistic children show reduced attentional preferences to social stimuli early in development, and these differences have consequences in a range of social and language domains. One factor that could positively influence development in those same processes is dual language exposure. Although there are a handful of studies foc...
Preprint
A distinct feature of autism is difficulties in several aspects of executive functioning. One factor that may influence how executive functions develop is exposure to more than one language in childhood. This study explored the impact of bilingualism on inhibitory control in autistic (n = 38) and non-autistic children (n = 51). Bilingualism was mea...
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Aims and objectives This paper explores children’s experiences and perceptions of their own bilingualism in two contexts in Scotland, UK: a primary school with a high proportion of children using a language other than English at home; and a primary school where the language of instruction is an indigenous, minority language, Gaelic. Methodology Th...
Article
The disambiguation effect, also referred to as process of elimination , occurs during word learning, whereby novel words are mapped onto new referents, precluding the application of a novel label to a familiar object. Prior studies showed that the emergence and use of disambiguation can be affected by children's vocabulary growth and linguistic exp...
Preprint
Please note this paper is being peer-reviewed for publication in Autism in Adulthood:Nolte, K., Fletcher-Watson, S., Sorace, A., Stanfield, A., & Digard, B.G. (2021). Perspectives and experiences of autistic multilingual adults: A qualitative analysis. (Under revision for Autism in Adulthood)Please do not cite this preprint.Background: The combined...
Preprint
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The present study investigates linguistics and cognitive effects of bilingualism with a minority language acquired through school medium education. If bilingualism has an effect on cognition and language abilities, regardless of language prestige or opportunities of use, young adult Gaelic-English speakers attending Gaelic medium education (GME) co...
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This study investigates the choice of genitive forms (the woman’s book vs. the book of the woman) in the English of Japanese-English bilingual returnees (i.e., children who returned from a second language dominant environment to their first language environment). The specific aim was to examine whether change in language dominance/exposure influenc...
Preprint
Disambiguation, a fast-mapping process based on the process-of-elimination, is a mechanism found in children and adults when assigning a new label to an unseen object in ambiguous word learning situations. Previous research found that multilingualism delayed the onset of when disambiguation emerged in young children. In this looking-while-listening...
Preprint
Adults apply a process-of-elimination, called disambiguation, to map new words to unknown objects or concepts. Studies have shown that adults, unlike children, do not extend this reasoning by exclusivity to disambiguate other referential expressions, such as factual information about objects. This has led to an ongoing debate as to whether disambig...
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This study examined how relative language proficiency and exposure influence the development of executive function (EF) in 7–12 year-old bilingual ‘returnee’ children. Returnees are children of immigrant families who were immersed in an environment where their second language (L2; English) was the majority societal language and returned to their na...
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Lay abstract: Bilingualism changes the way people relate to others. This is particularly interesting in the case of autism, where social interaction presents many challenges. A better understanding of the overlap between the social variations of bilingualism and autism could unveil new ways to support the social experiences of autistic people. Thi...
Preprint
Please note this paper has now been peer-reviewed and published.The published version can be found at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1362361320937845To cite, please use: Digard, B. G., Sorace, A., Stanfield, A., & Fletcher-Watson, S. (2020). Bilingualism in autism: Language learning profiles and social experiences. Autism. https://do...
Preprint
This article examines the ways in which bilingualism influences social and cognitive development and identifies intersections between corresponding aspects of autism, to inform future research directions. Three key domains are identified: social cognition; executive functions; and social-cultural factors. In each case we describe the evidence for t...
Book
Che cosa succede nel cervello di chi impara più lingue? Parlare più di una lingua può procurare dei vantaggi cognitivi nell'arco della vita? Esistono lingue più importanti di altre? È possibile imparare una lingua da adulti? Il bilinguismo può essere di ostacolo a chi soffre di patologie o disturbi specifici del linguaggio o dell’apprendimento? Che...
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While much of the literature on bilingualism and cognition focuses on group comparisons (monolinguals vs bilinguals or language learners vs controls), here we examine the potential differential effects of intensive language learning on subjects with distinct language experiences and demographic profiles. Using an individual differences approach, we...
Chapter
In this paper, we review recent literature on the cognitive benefits of bilingualism and suggest that studies focusing on language processing can provide insights in the debate surrounding the “bilingual advantage hypothesis”. We argue that cross-language priming can be a useful research tool, because it recruits different types of abilities, some...
Article
This longitudinal study investigates whether the development in executive control and bilingual experience predicts change in language control in bilingual children. Children were tested twice over the course of one year, using the language‐switching paradigm and the Simon task. The participants were Japanese‐English bilingual ‘returnee’ children (...
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http://www.meits.org/policy-papers/paper/is-it-possible-to-differentiate-multilingual-children-and-children-with-dld
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We report a study that investigated executive functions in four groups of participants that varied in bilingual language experience, using a task that measured two theoretically motivated mechanisms of cognitive control (proactive and reactive control). Analyses of accuracy based on aggregated measures suggested an advantage in early highly profici...
Article
The ability to selectively access two languages characterises the bilingual everyday experience. Previous studies showed the role of second language (L2) proficiency, as a proxy for dominance, on language control. However, the role of other aspects of the bilingual experience-such as age of acquisition and daily exposure-are relatively unexplored....
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Evidence from cross-linguistic priming suggests that bilinguals can share their representations of constructions that occur in both languages. Some studies suggest that such sharing occurs only when the constructions involve identical syntactic categories and word order, thereby supporting a restricted shared-structure account of bilingual linguist...
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Research has shown that learning more than one language may have beneficial effects on executive functions, such as focused attention, inhibitory control, and switching between tasks. Evidence demonstrating these effects comes from studies with infants, children and adults from a range of language combinations. Much less direct evidence of such eff...
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In this study, (N62) 5- to 6-year-old English monolingual and unbalanced multilingual children attending public primary school education in Scotland became involved in collaborative Narrative Format (Taeschner, 2005) modern language activities in Spanish, both at school and at home. These activities were redesigned and adapted to serve as a quasi-e...
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Recent theories propose that language-switching in bilinguals influences executive control. We investigated whether switching behaviour, shaped by the bilingual's interactional context as well as personal preferences impacted attentional control. We compared four groups – (i) Edinburgh monolinguals, (ii) Edinburgh non-switching late bilinguals, (ii...
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This paper tested an assumption of the gradient model of split intransitivity put forward by Sorace (“Split Intransitivity Hierarchy” (SIH), 2000, 2004), namely that agentivity is a fundamental feature for unergatives but not for unaccusatives. According to this hypothesis, the animacy of the verb’s argument should affect the processing of unergati...
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Studies exploring the influence of executive functions (EF) on perspective-taking have focused on inhibition and working memory in young adults or clinical populations. Less consideration has been given to more complex capacities that also involve switching attention between perspectives, or to changes in EF and concomitant effects on perspective-t...
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This study explores the effects of bilingualism in Sardinian as a regional minority language on the linguistic competence in Italian as the dominant language and on non-linguistic cognitive abilities. Sardinian/Italian adult speakers and monolingual Italian speakers living in the same geographical area of Sardinia were compared in two kinds of task...
Article
The present study explores whether age of onset of exposure to the second language affects interference resolution at the grammatical gender level and whether cognitive functions contribute to interference resolution. Early and late successive Serbian–Greek bilinguals living in the second language context, along with monolinguals, performed a pictu...
Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 The present study explores whether age of onset of exposure to the second language affects interference resolution at the grammatical gender level and whether cognitive functions contribute to interference resolution. Early and late successive Serbian–Greek bilinguals living in the second language context...
Poster
Full-text available
Anaphora resolution is a probabilistic process that involves linguistic and cognitive factors. So far, anaphora resolution in Italian has mainly been studied from a linguistic perspective. Moreover, different interpretational preferences have been found in Italian bilingual speakers. Here, we combined a visual world eye-tracking experiment and a fo...
Preprint
Purpose. Research into how bilingual parents of children with ASD make choices about their children’s language environment is scarce. This study aimed to explore this issue, focusing on understanding how bilingual parents of children with ASD may make different language exposure choices than bilingual parents of children without ASD. Method. Semi-s...
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Purpose: Research into how bilingual parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make choices about their children's language environment is scarce. This study aimed to explore this issue, focusing on understanding how bilingual parents of children with ASD may make different language exposure choices compared with bilingual parents of...
Article
\textbf{Purpose}$ Research into how bilingual parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make choices about their children's language environment is scarce. This study aimed to explore this issue, focusing on understanding how bilingual parents of children with ASD may make different language exposure choices compared with bilingual pa...
Article
In this paper, we explore the role of cognition in bilingual syntactic processing by employing a structural priming paradigm. A group of Norwegian-English bilingual children and an age-matched group of Norwegian monolingual children were tested in a priming task that included both a within-language and a between-language priming condition. Results...
Article
This study presents comprehension data from 6–7-and 8–10-year-old children as well as adults on the acceptability of null vs overt anaphoric forms (the demonstrative hura ‘that’ and the quasipronoun bera ‘(s)he, him-/herself’) in Basque, a language without true third-person pronouns. In an acceptability judgement task, a developmental change occurr...
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In this paper we will discuss cross-linguistic variation in semantic entailment patterns in causative alternations. Previous work has probed this issue with data from elicited semantic judgements on paired linguistic forms, often involving linguistic negation and contradiction. We contribute to the debate in the form of a related psycholinguistic e...
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Recent research has shown that the bilingual experience has positive effects on non-linguistic cognition (Bialystok 2009; Costa and Sebastian-Gallés 2014) but also negative effects on language, for example on vocabulary size and lexical fluency (Pearson et al. 1993). While most of the linguistic ‘disadvantages’ of bilingualism have been discussed i...
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We investigated the impact of a short intensive language course on attentional functions. We examined 33 participants of a one-week Scottish Gaelic course and compared them to 34 controls: 16 active controls who participated in courses of comparable duration and intensity but not involving foreign language learning and 18 passive controls who follo...
Article
Goldrick, Putnam and Schwarz (Goldrick, Putnam & Schwarz) argue that code-mixing in bilingual production involves not only combining forms from both languages but also – crucially – integrating grammatical principles with gradient mental representations. They further propose an analysis of a particular case of intrasentential code mixing – doubling...
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We report the results of a study which tested receptive Italian grammatical competence and general cognitive abilities in bilingual Italian-Sardinian children and age-matched monolingual Italian children attending the first and second year of primary school in the Nuoro province of Sardinia, where Sardinian is still widely spoken. The results show...
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Previous research has shown L1 attrition to be restricted to structures at the interfaces between syntax and pragmatics, but not to occur with syntactic properties that do not involve such interfaces ('Interface Hypothesis', Sorace and Filiaci in Anaphora resolution in near-native speakers of Italian. Second Lang Res 22: 339-368, 2006). The present...
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The recent hypothesis that L1 attrition affects the ability to process interface structures but not knowledge representations (Sorace, 2011) is tested by investigating the effects of recent L1 re-exposure on antecedent preferences for Spanish pronominal subjects, using offline judgements and online eye-tracking measures. Participants included a gro...
Article
We present a study examining cognitive functions in late non-balanced bilinguals with different levels of second language proficiency. We examined in two experiments a total of 193 mono- and bilingual university students. We assessed different aspects of attention (sustained, selective and attentional switching), verbal fluency (letter and category...
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Early second language (EL2) learners generally perform more poorly than monolinguals in specific language domains, presenting similarities with children affected by specific language impairment (SLI). As a consequence, it can be difficult to correctly diagnose this disorder in EL2 children. The current study investigated the performance of 120 EL2...
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Recent studies, using predominantly visual tasks, indicate that early bilinguals tend to outperform monolinguals on attention tests. It remains less clear whether such advantages extend to those bilinguals who have acquired their second language later in life. We examined this question in 38 monolingual and 60 bilingual university students. The bil...
Chapter
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This paper reports on two priming studies focusing on embedded word order in English and Norwegian, more specifically on subject-auxiliary inversion (SAI) in embedded questions in English and verb-adverb order (V2) in that-clauses in Norwegian. While the adult languages typically disprefer SAI or V2 in embedded contexts, spontaneous data show that...
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Sometimes, the relationship between form and meaning in language is not one-to-one. Here, we used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to illuminate the neural correlates of such flexible syntax–semantics mappings during sentence comprehension by examining split-intransitivity. While some (“rigid”) verbs consistently select one auxiliary, other (“...
Article
The present study explores the cross-linguistic differences between Spanish and Italian in the anaphoric interpretation of null subjects and overt pronominal subjects. The availability of null subjects in a language is determined by the parametric settings of its syntax, but their felicitous use as an alternative to overt pronouns depends on contex...
Article
Faroese is at the tail end of a change from an Icelandic-type syntax in which V-to-T is obligatory to a Danish-type system in which this movement is impossible. While the older word order is very rarely produced by adult Faroese speakers, there is evidence that this order is still marginally present in the adult grammar and thus only dispreferred,...
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This study investigated the role of typological relatedness, language of the community, and age, in predicting similarities and differences between English–Italian, Spanish–Italian bilingual children and their monolingual child and adult counterparts in the acceptability of pre- and postverbal object pronouns in [±focus] contexts in Italian and in...