Edinburgh Research Explorer

Referring expressions and executive functions in bilingualism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBilingualism, Executive Function, and Beyond
Subtitle of host publicationQuestions and Insights
Editors Irina A. Sekerina, Lauren Spradlin, Virginia Valian
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Chapter9
Pages 131–146
ISBN (Electronic)9789027262745
ISBN (Print)9789027202437, 9789027202420
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameBilingualism, Executive Function, and Beyond
Volume57
ISSN (Print)0928-1533

Abstract

Recent research has shown that the bilingual experience has positive effects on non-linguistic cognition (Bialystok, 2009; Costa & 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. Future experimental research validating this proposal may benefit both linguistic models of anaphora resolution and psychological models of cognitive control in monolinguals and bilinguals.

    Research areas

  • pronominal use, bilingualism, executive functions

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