Grain size accomodation in bilingual reading in alphabetic orthographies

Lallier, M.

Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language

Reading acquisition is one of the most complex and demanding learning processes faced by children in their first years of schooling. If reading acquisition is challenging in one language, how is it when reading is acquired simultaneously in two languages? What is the impact of bilingualism on the development of literacy? In this talk I will present a series of experiments in various populations of early bilinguals. They suggest that cross-linguistic variations and cross-linguistic transfer affect bilingual reading strategies as well as their cognitive underpinnings. In addition, our studies show that the impact of bilingualism on literacy acquisition depends on the specific combination of languages learned and does not manifest itself similarly across bilingual populations. All these results will be discussed in light of the grain size accommodation hypothesis (Lallier & Carreiras, 2018) that we put forward to explain the behavioral and neural variability observed in reading skills among early bilinguals. I will argue that the differences observed between bilingual groups can be explained by variations due to orthographic depth in the grain sizes used to perform reading and reading-related tasks.