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Referring expressions and executive functions in bilingualism

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669 - 684
JournalLinguistic Approaches to Bilingualism
Issue number5
Early online date13 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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 in the lexical domain, this question is scaled up here to the sentence level and a novel theoretical framework is proposed which explicitly connects psychological and linguistic research. It is suggested that the bilingual experience may (a) affect the reciprocal interactions between language and general cognition, and (b) modulate the relation between components of executive functions. These effects may in turn influence the processing of particular linguistic structures, such as anaphoric expressions, and lead to bilingual-monolingual differences that could be regarded as 'disadvantages' but are in fact the result of normal adaptive changes due to the bilingual experience.

    Research areas

  • bilingualism, pronouns, executive functions

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