Language balance and switching ability in children acquiring English as a second language
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Number of pages
SourceJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173, (2018), pp. 168-186
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC PL
Engelse Taal en Cultuur
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
SubjectCognitive aspects of Multilingualism; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; How early foreign language education influences pupils’ linguistic and cognitive development. A comparison between monolingual, “VVTO”, and early bilingual primary-school pupils; Language & Communication; Psycholinguistics; Speech Comprehension; Variation and Distance; We learn from our mistakes – or do we? Towards more efficient use of talking and listening experience in a second language (Vidi)
This study investigated whether relative lexical proficiency in Dutch and English in child second language (L2) learners is related to executive functioning. Participants were Dutch primary school pupils of three different age groups (4-5, 8-9, and 11-12 years) who either were enrolled in an early-English schooling program or were age-matched controls not on that early-English program. Participants performed tasks that measured switching, inhibition, and working memory. Early-English program pupils had greater knowledge of English vocabulary and more balanced Dutch-English lexicons. In both groups, lexical balance, a ratio measure obtained by dividing vocabulary scores in English by those in Dutch, was related to switching but not to inhibition or working memory performance. These results show that for children who are learning an L2 in an instructional setting, and for whom managing two languages is not yet an automatized process, language balance may be more important than L2 proficiency in influencing the relation between childhood bilingualism and switching abilities.
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