Activities and Seminars

Wouter Duyck. Language control in special bilingual populations
Date: Jan 17, 2013

What: Language control in special bilingual populations

Where: BCBL auditorium

Who: Wouter Duyck, Ghent University, Belgium.

When: 12 noon

Research has shown that both languages of a bilingual are always active. However, at the same time, bilinguals suffer only rarely for cross-language intrusions due to these interactions. This suggests an efficient mechanism for language control in bilinguals. In the present talk, I will present data on language control from 4 special bilingual populations. In the first study, we investigated order of language production in a verbal fluency paradigm. Dutch-English bilinguals produced less words after having spoken in the non-dominant language, but not vice versa. This effect only emerged for the same lexical categories (i.e. the same onset phoneme), or local inhibition. Different-script, and immersed Chinese bilinguals showed the same effect, but they also showed inhibition for other lexical categories (global inhibition). In the second study we investigated the executive control advantage commonly reported in bilinguals in unbalanced and balanced bilinguals, but also in a group of bilinguals that often codeswitch. Executive functioning was assessed using flanker and Stroop tasks. The bilingual advantage in these tasks was only investigated in the codeswitching group. In the third study, we investigated language control in simultaneous interpreters. Interpreters outperformed other bilinguals on measures of verbal and nonverbal cognitive control. In the fourth study, we investigated cross-lingual interactions and cognitive control in bilinguals with differential aphasia (i.e. stronger loss of one of either languages). We found that in such patients, the most affected language is still able to influence the most preserved language. We attribute the differential aphasia to language control deficiencies, as assess by cognitive control tasks.