ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Over the last decade, research on multilingualism has grown and has provided researchers with new insights into the mechanisms at work in the multilingual brain. While some studies of multilinguals have shown similar results to what has been seen in studies of bilinguals, certain unique properties of multilinguals are beginning to be noticed, particularly regarding early language representation, gray matter density, and speed of lexical retrieval. In addition, research on cognitive control, language switching, working memory, and certain consequences of multilingualism (advantages and disadvantages) are reviewed in terms of their effects on the brains of bilinguals and multilinguals. Although there is little agreement among papers concerning specific regions that are structurally different in monolinguals and multilinguals, publications do show differences. Similarly, there are studies reporting somewhat different regions called upon for processing a given language in multilinguals compared to monolinguals.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... In multilingual people there is extensive overlap of brain regions that underlie language processing in the different languages (e.g., Abutalebi, Cappa & Perani, 2001;Higby, Kim & Obler, 2013;Perani, Paulesu, Galles, Dupoux, Dehaene, Bettinardi, Cappa, Fazio & Mehler, 1998). Most models of multilingual language representation are based on the widely accepted premise that semantic knowledge is predominantly shared across languages (e.g., Kroll et al., 2010;Kroll & Tokowicz, 2005;Paradis, 1993). ...
Article
In multilingual people, semantic knowledge is predominantly shared across languages. Providing semantic-focused treatment to people with aphasia has been posited to strengthen connectivity within association cortices that subserve semantic knowledge. In multilingual people, such treatment should result in within- and cross-language generalisation to all languages, although not equally. We investigated treatment effects in two multilingual participants with aphasia who received verb-based semantic treatment in two pre-stroke highly proficient languages. We compared within- and cross-language generalisation patterns across languages, finding within- and cross-language generalisation after treatment in the less-impaired, pre-morbidly more-proficient first-acquired language (L1). This observation supports the theory that connectivity is greater between the lexicon of a pre-morbidly more-proficient L1 and the shared semantic system than the lexicon of a pre-morbidly less-proficient later-acquired language. Our findings of within- and cross-language generalisation patterns could also be explained by both the Competing Mechanisms Theory and the theory of lingering suppression.
... The effects of bilingualism on EF have been empirically explored in the past decade. The findings tend to indicate that early bilingualism not only alters the functional involvement of certain brain areas in cognitive processing, but also induces experience-related changes in brain structure (Antoniou, 2019;Barac et al., 2014;Costa & Sebastián-Gallés, 2014;Higby et al., 2013). According to Costa and Sebastián-Gallés (2014), there seems to be adequate empirical evidence supporting the notion that bilingualism positively impacts early cognition, especially on those processes involved in executive function and their corresponding brain structures. ...
Article
Aims and objectives/purpose/research questions: The bilingual advantage in executive function (EF) has recently been explored with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) technology, but the results are still controversial because of the limited statistical analysis. This study aims to fill the gap by replicating the existing studies and advancing the statistical analysis. Design/methodology/approach: Altogether, 35 preschoolers (aged between 4.1 and 6.3 years, Mage = 5.0 years, SD = 0.59) completed the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Fourth Edition (PPVT-4) and the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) task. Their behavioral performance and the associated brain activities during the three sessions of the DCCS task were measured using fNIRS. In addition, they were classified into either Bilingual or Monolingual groups based on the PPVT scores. Data and analysis: t-tests and quadratic regression analyses were conducted to examine whether children’s performance in the DCCS was related to their bilingualism and whether the changes in oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO) in the prefrontal regions were related to their bilingualism and performance in the DCCS. Findings/conclusions: The behavioral data analysis indicated no significant differences between the monolinguals and bilinguals. However, the fNIRS evidence indicated that (1) the monolinguals had to recruit 15 channels to complete the cognitive shifting of DCCS tasks, whereas the bilinguals only employed 11; (2) the bilinguals had significantly more brain activation with fewer channels in BA 44 than the monolinguals, demonstrating more effective executive function. Originality: This study has advanced the statistical analysis of the HbO changes for the cognitive shifting in the DCCS by confirming the nonlinear U-shape by quadratic regression a better fit than the linear V-shape by GLM. Significance/implications: This finding implies that early bilingual experience has equipped young children with more effective executive function.
... However, under certain conditions (e.g., clear speech, low noise, simple tasks), excellent perception of L2 contrasts can often be observed, indicating that the relevant acoustic-phonetic correlates of the contrasts can be perceived by non-native listeners and L2 learners (e.g., Strange and Dittman, 1984;Levy and Strange, 2008;Strange, 2011). Furthermore, the age at which bilinguals begin acquiring their second language also influences how they process the second language (see Higby et al., 2013, for a review). The automatic selective perception (ASP) model (Strange andShafer, 2008, 2011) was proposed to account for these differences in performance as a function of task, stimuli, and language experience. ...
Article
Full-text available
Japanese and English use temporal cues within vowels, suggesting an audio-processing advantage for temporally-cued contrasts, while Spanish does not. Using a categorial AXB discrimination task, this study investigated how American English-speaking monolinguals and early and late Spanish-English bilinguals perceive three types of temporally-contrasting Japanese pairs: vowel length (kado/kaado), consonant length (iken/ikken), and syllable number (hjaku/hijaku). All groups performed worse than Japanese controls for the vowel length and syllable number contrasts, but only early bilinguals differed from controls for consonant length. This research contributes to a better understanding of how the first-learned language influences speech perception in a second language.
Article
The analysis and understanding of multilingualism, and its relationship to identity in the face of globalization, migration and the increasing dominance of English as a lingua franca, makes it a complex and challenging problem that requires insights from a range of disciplines. With reference to a variety of languages and contexts, this book offers fascinating insights into multilingual identity from a team of world-renowned scholars, working from a range of different theoretical and methodological perspectives. Three overarching themes are explored – situatedness, identity practices, and investment – and detailed case studies from different linguistic and cultural contexts are included throughout. The chapter authors' consideration of 'multilingualism-as-resource' challenges the conception of 'multilingualism-as-problem', which has dogged so much political thinking in late modernity. The studies offer a critical lens on the types of linguistic repertoire that are celebrated and valued, and introduce the policy implications of their findings for education and wider social issues.
Article
Background Language treatment for bilinguals with aphasia has been shown to result in gains in both the treated language and the untreated language (i.e., cross-language generalization). However, cross-language generalization is not consistently found. This inconsistency may be due to several factors, such as the age of acquisition of, and proficiency in, each language. One often-overlooked factor that may influence whether cross-language generalization occurs is the manner in which bilinguals learned their second language (L2): in a formal educational context (explicitly) or naturalistically through exposure to the language (implicitly). Prior research suggests that implicit L2 learning results in greater overlap in the representation of the first language (L1) and L2 in the brain, particularly for grammar, compared to explicit learning. In contrast, lexical processing in L1 and L2 is proposed to rely more on shared brain regions regardless of the manner of L2 acquisition. Greater overlap should provide a greater likelihood of cross-language generalization effects from treatment. Aims The goal of this study was to determine how the manner of acquisition of L2 may affect cross-language generalization following treatment in L2 separately targeting the lexicon (object naming) and grammar (sentence construction). Methods & Procedures Two Spanish-English bilinguals with aphasia each completed two treatment phases in English of 2-4 weeks each, in succession, with one week between them: semantic feature analysis (SFA) targeting object naming, and Verb Network Strengthening Treatment (VNeST) targeting verb retrieval and sentence construction. Pre- and post-treatment assessments and weekly probes were completed for each phase. Participant P1 learned English explicitly in an educational setting, while participant P2 learned English implicitly. Outcomes & Results As predicted, P2 showed cross-language generalization after verb/grammar treatment (VNeST) whereas P1 did not. However, contrary to the prediction that both participants should show cross-language generalization after noun treatment (SFA), only P1 showed cross-language generalization of object naming. Conclusions Cross-language generalization was observed for both participants but for different aspects of language. The findings suggest that naturalistic second language learning may lead to stronger links between languages in the grammatical system, whereas formal second language learning may lead to stronger links between languages in the lexical-semantic system. Future research should further explore the effects of manner of acquisition as a predictor of language co-activation and cross-language treatment generalization in bilinguals with aphasia.
Article
Aims and objectives Recent findings suggest enhanced phonetic and phonological learning ability in bilinguals compared with monolinguals. While other cognitive differences between these two groups have been identified in the past, the most frequently investigated mechanism potentially underlying them has been executive function. When considering phonetic and phonological learning, however, we are faced with greater involvement of sensorimotor mechanisms, since audition, perception, and articulation are all important components in the learning of new patterns of pronunciation. The present study investigates memory mechanisms, with a focus on auditory sensory memory, in these two groups of speakers. Methodology An adaptive digit span task with suffix effect was administered to two groups of speakers (bilinguals and monolinguals). Data and analysis The two groups were compared in terms of accuracy rates (overall and by serial position), maximum digit span reached, and the proportion of participants who reached the highest list length. Findings/conclusions The results show that bilinguals have longer digit spans and demonstrate higher accuracy compared with monolinguals for all serial positions inside every list length, suggesting an advantage not only in terms of recently heard items (i.e., recency effect, attributable to auditory sensory mechanisms) but also for the items heard in the beginning of longer list lengths (i.e., primacy effect, attributable to working memory). Originality The role of sensory mechanisms in language learning, in particular auditory sensory (echoic) memory, was posited to have been underestimated to date. The current study addresses this gap by investigating alternative mechanisms that could support differences in behavior resulting from language experience of various types. Significance/implications The connection between auditory sensory memory and linguistic experience suggests that sensory mechanisms are involved in some of the observed cognitive differences between bilinguals and monolinguals. In particular, sensorimotor mechanisms might at least partially account for more effective phonetic and phonological learning in bilinguals. The current study thus sheds more light on the coupling between cognitive and sensory functions.
Article
Full-text available
Apresenta-se neste texto um projeto de investigação-ação desenvolvido numa turma de Inglês no 1.º Ciclo do Ensino Básico, cujo objetivo foi compreender as aprendizagens das crianças no âmbito de atividades de intercompreensão. Numa perspetiva de educação plurilingue e intercultural, foram desenvolvidas cinco sessões de trabalho com as crianças em torno de famílias de línguas, a partir de picturebooks em inglês, sessões que foram videogravadas e analisadas a par de fichas de trabalho. Os dados foram submetidos a análise de conteúdo, com duas categorias: “conhecimentos de cultura linguística” e “estratégias de transparência”. Os resultados mostram que as crianças foram capazes de mobilizar conhecimentos de cultura linguística, que já tinham e/ou que desenvolveram ao longo do projeto, bem como de acionar estratégias de comparação interlinguística, como o recurso à imagem e à transparência escrita, para interpretação de textos em outras línguas. Conclui-se que as atividades de intercompreensão permitem desenvolver a competência plurilingue intercultural, estimulando a capacidade de compreensão de textos de diferentes códigos linguísticos.
Chapter
Language situations vary in different nations. In some countries, a variety of languages are spoken; in others, a single language is used. People who have the linguistic competence to speak several languages are multilingual. What role does multilingualism play in multinational corporations? Is multilingualism a problem or a solution for international business? Does English as a lingua franca play a role in international business? How business leaders react to multilingualism or Englishization? Opinions are divided. Multilingualism has been the focus of interest in recent decades due to globalization, tourism, technology advancement, international trade, and so forth. Language barriers and linguistic diversity surfaced which may impact corporate communications in international business. Specific language policies might be needed for corporate communications. The aims of this chapter are to explore the roles of multilingualism and Englishization in international business, and to seek approaches for better corporate communications. Associated issues and problems as well as solutions and recommendations will be explored and discussed.
Article
Since the 196Os, there has been controversy as to whether long-term learning might depend on some form of temporary short-term storage. Evidence that patients with grossly impaired memory span might show normal learning was, however, particularly problematic for such views. We reexamine the question by studying the learning capacity of a patient, P.V., with a very pure deficit in short-term memory. A series of experiments compare her learning capacity with that of matched controls. The fast experiment shows that her capacity to learn pairs of meaningful words is within the normal range. A second experiment examines her capacity to learn to associate a familiar word with an unfamiliar item from another language. With auditory presentation she is completely unable to perform this task. Further studies show that when visual presentation is used she shows evidence of learning, but is clearly impaired. It is suggested that short-term phonological storage is important for learning unfamiliar verbal material, but is not essential for forming associations between meaningful items that are already known. Implications for the possible role of a phonological short-term store in the acquisition of vocabulary by children are discussed. 0 1988 Academic During the 196O.q evidence for separate long-and short-term memory stores began to accumulate. This evidence led to a number of models, the most influential of which was the "modal model" of Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968). This assumed that information was fed from a series of sensory buffers into a limited capacity short-term store, which in turn fed information into and out of a much larger capacity long-term store. Learning was assumed to involve transfer of information from the short-term to the long-term store, with the probability of long-term learning being a function of the time spent by the relevant item in the short-term store. By the early 1970s evidence that did not fit into the modal model was begin
Book
This book presents the latest developments in crosslinguistic influence (CLI) and multilingualism research. The contributors, both veteran researchers and relative newcomers to the field, situate their research in current debates in terms of theory and data analysis and they present it in an accessible way. The chapters investigate how and when native and non-native language knowledge is used in language production. They focus on lexis, syntax, tense-aspect, phonology of multilingual production and link it to a range of concepts such as redundancy, affordances, metalinguistic awareness and L2 status. The empirical data have been collected from participants with a wide combination of languages: besides English, German, French and Spanish, there is Finnish, Swedish, Polish, Chinese and Catalan. © 2011 Gessica De Angelis, Jean-Marc Dewaele and the authors of individual chapters. All rights reserved.
Book
This volume brings together six case studies of an adult multilingual speaker who acquires a new language through social interaction. The book deals especially with the multilingual situation, the learner's acquisitional activities, and the involvement of background languages in the process of speaking. It offers a coherent study of various linguistic phenomena in one individual, including patterns and functions of language switching, word search in interaction, hypothetical construction of words, and articulatory settings in speaking. The main languages involved are English (L1), German (L2) and Swedish (L3). The activation of these languages in the learner's speech is examined in a cognitive perspective in relation to current models of the speaking process. A longitudinal corpus of NNS-NS conversations covering 21 months from the beginner stage provides the main data for these studies.
Article
Written by leading experts in the field, The Blackwell Guide to Research Methods in Bilingualism and Multilingualism focuses on the methodology of research in this rapidly growing field. Highlights the interdisciplinary nature of research on bilingualism and multilingualism and offers a practical guide to the specific procedures and tools for collecting and analyzing data. Specifically addresses methodological issues, discussing research topics, core concepts and approaches, and the methods, techniques and tools available. Provides project ideas and practical advice on conference presentations and publication. Brings together a team of leading international experts in the field Links theory to method, and to data, answering the market need for a volume on bilingualism and multilingualism that deals with its methodology in a systematic and coherent way.