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The Acquisition of Heritage Languages

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Academic Paper


Title: Language proficiency and executive control in bilingual children
Author: Peri IIluz-Cohen
Institution: Bar-Ilan University
Author: Sharon Armon-Lotem
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Bar-Ilan University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Hebrew
Abstract: The relation between language proficiency and executive functions has been established for monolingual children. The present study addresses this issue in bilingual children, comparing the language proficiency of sequential English–Hebrew bilingual preschool children as determined by standardized assessment instruments and generic executive control in inhibition, sorting and shifting tasks. Participants were recruited from regular and language preschools and classified according to their language proficiency as bilinguals with high language proficiency in at least one of their languages (including balanced bilinguals with high language proficiency in both languages, L2-dominant, and L1-dominant) and bilinguals showing low language proficiency in both languages. As reported for monolingual preschool children, positive relationships between language proficiency and inhibition and shifting abilities were found, with significantly lower performance among low language proficiency bilinguals. Significantly better performance was also found for shifting among children who had already mastered their L2 compared to those who were still in the process of acquiring the new language.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 16, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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