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Academic Paper


Title: The effect of bilingualism on letter and category fluency tasks in primary school children: Advantage or disadvantage?
Author: Reza Kormi-Nouri
Institution: Örebro University
Author: Ali-Reza Moradi
Institution: Tehran Teacher Training University
Author: Shahram Moradi
Institution: Örebro University
Author: Saeed Akbari-Zardkhaneh
Institution: Illinois State University
Author: Haedeh Zahedian
Institution: McGill University
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Persian, Iranian
Kurdish, Central
Kurdish, Northern
Kurdish, Southern
Turkish
Abstract: The aim of the current study was to examine the effects of bilingualism on letter and category fluency tasks. Participants were 1,600 monolingual and bilingual children from three cities in Iran: Tehran (Persian monolinguals), Tabriz (Turkish–Persian bilinguals), and Sanandaj (Kurdish–Persian bilinguals). We separately presented nine Persian letters and thirty-one categories to the participants, and asked them to generate as many words as possible using each of these initial letters and categories within a maximum of three minutes. Bilingual children generated more words than monolingual children in the letter fluency task; this effect was more pronounced in Grade 1 and for Turkish–Persian bilinguals. However, Persian monolinguals generated significantly more words than both bilingual groups in the category fluency task. Thus, bilingualism can be of both advantage and disadvantage, and produce a dissociative effect. We discuss the results on the basis of the specific nature and different cognitive demands of letter and category fluency tasks. We suggest that the degree of language proficiency of bilinguals should be considered as an important variable in future research on bilingualism.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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