[PS-3.8] Biliteracy and Linguistic Distances effect on Executive Functions

Al Rassi, R. , Sorace, A. & Bak, T.

The University of Edinburgh

Among the main questions people ask after hearing that learning a new language may have a positive effect on executive functions is, ?Does it matter which languages I learn?? This research aims to answer that question and is divided into three parts.
Using a longitudinal analysis study the first part looks at university students and the effects linguistic distance and biliteracy have on the executive functions of late language learners. Students are split into 3 groups based on the subjects/languages they are learning; English monolinguals, morphologically complex languages using Latin script, and Arabic, and are tested using executive function tasks from their first year to their fourth.
The second part of the study will look at early bilinguals and will compare English Monolinguals, English/Arabic bilinguals and English/Maltese bilinguals using the executive function tasks, concentrating on the fact that, like English, Maltese uses the Latin script, while Arabic uses its own.
Finally we use a visual and an auditory lexical decision task on English Monolinguals, English/Arabic bilinguals and English/Maltese bilinguals to see if there are differences in hemispheric usage between the three groups when making linguistic judgments.
As testing is still ongoing, the data is incomplete.