Table_1_Cognitive and Linguistic Predictors of Language Control in Bilingual Children.DOCX (15.4 kB)

Table_1_Cognitive and Linguistic Predictors of Language Control in Bilingual Children.DOCX

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posted on 19.05.2020, 04:22 by Megan C. Gross, Margarita Kaushanskaya

In order to communicate effectively with a variety of conversation partners and in a variety of settings, bilingual children must develop language control, the ability to control which language is used for production. Past work has focused on linguistic skills as the limiting factor in children’s ability to control their language choice, while cognitive control has been the focus of adult models of language control. The current study examined the effects of both language ability and cognitive control on language control in 4−6 year old Spanish/English bilingual children with a broad range of language skills, including those with low skills in both languages. To measure language control, children participated in an interactive scripted confederate dialogue paradigm in which they took turns describing picture scenes with video partners who presented themselves as monolingual speakers of English or monolingual speakers of Spanish. The paradigm had two conditions: a single-language context, in which children interacted with only one partner, and a dual-language context, in which children needed to switch between languages to address different partners. The Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) indexed cognitive control. The findings revealed an overall effect of language ability, such that children with lower language skills were more likely to produce words in the language not understood by their conversation partner. There was also an effect of cognitive control on children’s ability to adjust to the dual-language context. Based on these findings, we suggest that a model of language control in children should consider both linguistic and cognitive factors. However, language ability appears to be the main limiting factor, with cognitive control playing a more restricted role in adapting to a dual-language context.