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Academic Paper


Title: The construct of language proficiency in the study of bilingualism from a cognitive perspective
Author: Jan H. Hulstijn
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: https://home.medewerker.uva.nl/j.h.hulstijn/
Institution: University of Amsterdam
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: This article aims at revitalizing the debate concerning the measurement of language proficiency (LP) in the study of bilingualism (Grosjean, 1998). A review is presented of the way in which LP was measured in a corpus of 140 empirical papers published in volumes 1–14 (1998–2011) of the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. In 55% of these papers, in which the assessment of LP as an independent or moderating variable was a necessary or preferred requirement, LP was not measured with an objective LP test. Seldom were participants’ LP scores used in explaining variance obtained in the dependent variable(s). After the discussion of some unresolved problems concerning cross-language comparisons of LP in bilinguals’ languages, recommendations are offered for the measurement of LP. One of the recommendations is that, in studies investigating between-group contrasts, researchers carefully consider the assessment of participants’ proficiency in the language(s) concerned, even in native-speaker comparison groups.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 2.

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