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Rizki Amelia, M.Pd

Bilingualism and Cognition

Name of members:
Suciati Anandes
Class E/6

State Islamic University Of Sultan Syarif Kasim Riau

Faculty Of Education And Teachers Training
English Education Department


Alhamdulillahhirabbil Alamin, the writers have finished writing

this paper. We should not forget Allah Almighty, The Lord of the universe
Who has given his guidance and blessings, which finally we could









Psycholinguistics : Bilingualism and Cognition

This paper was one of the duties and requirements to complete
Applied Grammar 1 task. Thanks to Mrs. Rizki Amelia, M.Pd and all of
our friends who have supported us for finishing this task.
Finally, the writer realizes that this paper is still far from
perfection. Therefore, readers comments, criticisms, and constructive
suggestions will be highly appreciated.
We expect this may be useful for all of us, and to contribute ideas
for the readers, especially the expected goals can be achieved, Aamiin.
Pekanbaru, May 16th, 2015

The Writers

Table of contents
Preface 2
Table of contents 3
Chapter I

Introduction 4
Chaper II6
Verities of Bilingual

Is bilingualism beneficial or detrimental?

Simultaneous And Sequential Learning Situation 9

Transfer Effect Of L1 On L2 Learning
Chaper III



A. Introduction
Generally, bilingualism is an ability to use two or more languages. In the
past decade, there has been an upsurge of research on bilingualism. A theme in
this work is that the bilingual's two languages are always active, at times
converging with one another to produce benefits to comprehension and
production, but at other times conflicting, with the requirement to negotiate cross-

language competition. A goal in the recent work has been to characterize the
cognitive processes that enable bilinguals to negotiate the cross-talk between their
two languages. The ease with which highly proficient bilinguals are able to speak
each of their languages without frequent errors or intrusions and, at the same time,
switch between the two languages in contexts in which code switching is
appropriate or encouraged, suggests the presence of a high level of cognitive
control. At the same time, behavioral and neurocognitive studies have shown that
bilinguals differ from monolinguals in their performance on tasks that are purely
cognitive, often showing advantages relative to monolinguals, and clear
differences in neural function and structure.
Bilingualism or being a bilingual has been looked upon as having both
advantages and disadvantages in real life. Research points out at bilinguals
outperforming monolinguals at all ages in numerous cognitive tasks and abilities
ranging from perceptual disembodying problems (Duncan & De Avila, 1979 as
cited in Bialystok, 1997) and the Simon task (Bialystok, Craik, Klien &
Vishvanathan, 2004).1 It was also viewed as resulting in cognitive retardation or
causing detrimental effects on intelligence and language development (Yang &
Lust, 2004). This view, however, changed by the work of Peal and Lambert in
1962 (cited in Bialystok, 1997) concluding with positive outcomes of
bilingualism. Bilinguals who have the merit of knowing two or more languages
have been more expressive in thoughts, ideas and their communication skill is
improved and facilitated tremendously.
Cognitive control involves filtering out of irrelevant information i.e.
interference suppression, inhibiting an inappropriate response, maintaining goals
of the task in hand even in conflicting conditions, switching conditions or
switching between tasks and selecting among different responses. Cognitive
control has been experimentally found to be associated with a wide range of
processes and is not restricted to a particular cognitive domain. For instance,
1 Bialystok E., Craik F. I., Klein, R., & Viswanathan, M. 2004. Bilingualism,
aging, and cognitivecontrol: Evidence from the Simon task. p.290-303.

presence of impairments in cognitive control functions may be associated with

specific deficits in attention, memory, language comprehension and emotional
processing. In the procedure of selecting a word it has been found that it gives rise
to interference between different representations that are activated and that the
selection of the correct word is made possible through the mechanism of cognitive
control (Rodriguez-Fornells, De Diego Balaguer, & Mnte, 2006). And prefrontal
cortex is importantly engaged in this phenomenon of cognitive control (Badre and
Wagner, 2004).2


A. Varieties of Bilinguals
Most of us without the second thought would think that bilingual is a
person who is able to speak and understand two languages, like English and
Russian. That, beyond this, there might be varieties of bilinguals are likely to
2 Badre, D. & Wagner, A. D.2004.Selection, integration, and conflict
monitoring: Assessing thenature and generality of prefrontal cognitive control
mechanisms. p. 473-487.

strike many of us as odd. But, we should realize that there are people who know a
sign language, too, such as British sign language and Swedish sign language,
these are true languages in their own right. Moreover there are people who can
read a second language fluently, even writes it well, but who cannot speak or
understand it to any significant degree. We need to recognize that bilingualism is a
complex cognitive and linguistic phenomenon, which may vary widely among
individuals, and even within individuals with respect to their competence in the
languages concerned.
Language in all its complexity can be acquired through a variety of
modalities sound (speech), vision (writing) and visual motion (signs) an
adequate concept of a bilingual should allow for any of these realizations. A
person is bilingual if he or she knows:
a. More than one realization of language in the same modality such as two
sound based languages or two sign based languages.
b. Two languages based on different modalities such as Dutch and American
Sign Language.
c. A person who can read and write the second language fluently and correctly
but cannot speak or understand its spoken form very well (written mode).
But, there is some researcher who not agreed about this point because this is
not fulfilling the standard for knowing a language.
There is no good reason to exclude any of these combinations from the
label of bilingualism because the languages that are mostly involved in research of
bilingualism are speech based, the discussion in this chapter focus on the speech
modality. Proficiency in all language may be evaluated with respect to a variety of
variables, including knowledge of syntax, vocabulary and pronunciation (signing
or writing for non-speech). In the other hand, someone who knows two dialects of
same language, e.g. British English and American English, with differ in
significant aspects (but not so great differences), this phenomenon is called
3 Danny D. Steinberg. 1993. An Introduction to Psycholinguistics.

B. Is bilingualism beneficial or detrimental?

At a personal level, the pleasure and cultural benefits of bilingualism are
obvious. This being the case, where then is the controversy? How can one
reasonably be against bilingualism? There are some reasons for this term, as

First, some of the arguments are not against bilingualism itself but the early
acquisition of the second language. Acquiring a second language can be
harmful in two main respects: linguistically (retarding the acquisition of the
first or the second language) and intellectually (retarding the development of

thinking and cognitive abilities).

Second, the critism that has been leveled against early bilingualism is
primarily of another era, the early half of the twentieth century.
a. Effects on the development of language
There is a concern (not all illogical) that bilingualism might somehow

retard first or second-language development so that a child raised with two

languages might never really learn either languages as well as would monolingual
speakers of those languages.
Negative reports: The most well-known and influential piece of research
for its time was Madorah Smith back in the 1930s. The principal finding was that
the bilingual children from Hawaii had many more errors in their English speech
than did their Iowa counterparts, which led Smith to conclude that bilingualism
caused retardation in language development.
Positive reports: More sophisticated investigations in comparing the
linguistic skills of monolinguistic and bilinguals have been done by Lambert and
his associated in Canada, where English and French are the official languages.
Many of the research studies have involved children in so called language
immersion. It is being exposed to a substantial amount of academic instruction
and social interaction in that second language. The immersion group did better
than the English monolingual control group on creativity tests. There is no way it

can be resolved unless researchers are allowed to randomly assign children to

monolingual or bilingual programmers regardless of the wishes of their parents.
Conclusion regarding effect on language there is no evidence that early
bilingualism has an adverse effect on language acquisition. It would be difficult
today to find any reputable theorist who would conclude that early bilingualism
itself causes negative linguistic effects.
b. Effect on the development of intelligence
The burden of learning an additional language considered to have an
adverse effect on the child abilities. The possibility that learning a second
language could in some way have a positive effect on intelligence was not
something that was considered viable until relatively recently.
Negative reports: Goddard (1917) gave the English language version of
the Binet intelligence test to 30 recently arrived Lewis adult immigrants at Ellis
Island. Goddard classified 25 of the 30 lews as feeble-minded. Psycholinguist
seriously began to consider that knowledge of language was not a fair measure of
intelligence and that the language content or many widely used intelligence tests
was culturally based.
Positive reports: The work Lambert in early 1960s led the way in this
regard. Unexpectedely, possitive effects began to be found and such results have
continued to be reported even to the present. To date, Bain and Yu studied, they
compared monolingual and bilingual young children in different part of the world.
Linguistically, the children were bilingual in either English and French, or,
English and Chinese. The children were raised either monolingually or bilingually
by their parents under the guidence of the resarcher. By the time the children were
around 4 years old, the result on some cognitive performance tests showed the
bilinguals to be superior to the monolinguals, in addition to their having acquired
two different languages.
As a conclusion, there is no harms effect either regarding language (first or
second) intelligence, because there are many beneficial effects of bilingualism.

C. Simultaneous And Sequential Learning Situation

There are essentially two conditions according to which person may
become bilingual: the two languages can acquire at the same time or in sequence.
The simultanes learning of two languages occurs only with children, since in only
the most abnormal of circumstances would a child when exposed to a language
not learn it. On the other hand, sequential learning can occur with children and
adults; the second language can be learned in childhood or after the person has
become an adult.
a.Simultaneous acquisition
Simultaneous acquisition is a form of bilingualism that takes place when a
child becomes bilingual by learning two languages from the birth. There are two
situations in which a child may acquire more than one language at the same time.
1. 1P 1L
The one parent using one language only situation. For example, a mother
might speak only Spanish while the father might speak only English. Each parents
are using one language only situation.
2. 1P 2L
When the same person uses two different languages while speaking to the
child. For example, the mother and father us both Spanish and English when
talking to the child.
It seems that children are so flexible that they can become bilingual in
both languages by the age of 3 or 4 years, regardless of their language situation.
Based on that issue, it seems likely that the child in 1P 1L situation will learn the
two languages faster than 1P 2L situation simply because of consistency. But,
the researcher said that 1P 2L will learn faster than 1P -1L, but it may be 1P
2L children produce more mixed language sentences, where the vocabulary and
syntax of the different languages are used in the same sentence, e.g. Open the
reizoko. In time, the child will overcome the mixed input and get things right.


Sequential acquisition
The sequential kind of bilingual situation occurs for a child when parents

speak one language and the community at large speaks another. The parents could
be an immigrant. The parents speak one language at home; the child will expose
the different language at outside. Sequential acquisition of the second language
may take place at a variety of ages and under a variety of situations. In acquiring
the second language, speed, proficiency, and fluency will be determined by certain
psychological and social variables.
So, simultaneous is different with sequential acquisition. Simultaneous
acquisition makes the child becomes the native of both languages in the same time
while Sequential acquisition occurs when the child becomes bilingual by first
learning one language and then the child learn another language in different time.
D. Transfer Effect Of L1 On L2 Learning
Language transfer (also known as L1 interference, linguistic interference,
and cross linguistic influence) refers to speakers or writers applying knowledge
from one language to another language. It is the transfer of linguistic features
between languages in the speech repertoire of a bilingual or multilingual
individual, whether from first to second, second to first or many other
relationships. It is most commonly discussed in the context of English language
learning and teaching, but it can occur in any situation when someone does not
have a native-level command of a language, as when translating into a second
a. Similarity of syntax, vocabulary, and sound system.
While linguists agree that no one language is more complex overall than
any other language, and psycholinguists agree that no one language is easier to
learn than any other language., nonetheless, not every pair of language can be
expected to be acquired at the same rate.

Compare for instance English, French, Russian, Japanese. Which one of

these languages will be easiest/ most difficult to learn for a Macedonian/ Korean/
German learner? . The greater the similarity between two languages in terms of
their syntax, vocabulary and sound system, the more rapid the rate of acquisition.
b. Facilitation, errors, interference, Second Language Strategy and First
Language Strategy.
The knowledge one has of ones first language may help or facilitate the
learning of a second language. Even when two languages are very different, from
both a linguistic and psycholinguistic processing viewpoint, there is much
Facilitation can be so great that given the proper environment where
children are placed in a natural not a classroom situation a second language can
be acquired more quickly than the first.

Errors, interference, Second Language Strategy and First Language

There is some confusion, however, when it comes to interpreting just what

the cause of errors might be. Consider the following errors made by Japanese:
1. Now Tom happy is. (Interference)
In the process of constructing the sentence perhaps because of haste or in
hurry (native speaker too make errors in such circumstances), the happiness order
of constituents intruded on the process so as to cause the error.
2. Afterwards they ate the dinner. (Second language strategy)
Second language strategy means that the speaker uses general knowledge
of Second language to choose the appropriate word to complete their sentence. In
the example above, the speaker uses article the to show whether dinner is
countable noun or may be the speaker unsure about the status of dinner.
This is the example of an error which is made by English speaker who
learns Japanese:

1. John merry met at the theatre yesterday. (First language strategy)

First language strategy means that, the bilingual does not really know
about the rule of the second language or when the second language knowledge is
lacking, they can use the first language rule or strategy, especially when
conversational situation. The example above explain about an English native
speaker who tries to speak Japanese the rule should be Adverbial + Subject +
Object + Verb (Japanese rule) but the speaker uses Subject + Object + Verb +
Adverbial (commonly English rule).

c. The double trouble phenomenon

Double trouble phenomenon is a phenomenon of a
bilingual when he/she tries to speak a language but the other
language that he/she knows come to his/her mind so they get
difficulties to speak the target language, for instance, john is a
native speaker of English. When he starts to speak Japanese,
France (he never spoke since leaving Paris for the US 15 years
earlier) come to his mind and when John took a trip to France a
few years later, his smattering of Japanese unexpectedly came to
mind when he tried to speak France. Perhaps foreign languages
all are tossed into the same bag in the mind before they get
sorted out.

A. Conclusion
There are some varieties of Bilingual (1) people who able to speak 2
languages (2) people who able to speak 1 language and understand 1 sign
language (3) people who able to speak 1 language and can write and understand

the other language (but not speak) or it is called written mode. Those kinds are
happened because language is complex and it just can be acquired through a
variety of modalities sound (speech), vision (writing) and visual motion (signs).
A consideration of the research evidence shows no harm effect either
regarding language (first and second) intelligence. In fact, some researcher
suggest there many even be beneficial effect. There are two condition according to
which person may become bilingual: the two language can be acquired at the
same time (simultaneous) or the two language can be acquired at different time

Badre, D. & Wagner, A. D.2004.Selection, integration, and conflict monitoring:
Assessing the nature and generality of prefrontal cognitive control
mechanisms. Neuron: Cell Press. Vol. 41
Bialystok E., Craik F. I., Klein, R., & Viswanathan, M. 2004. Bilingualism, aging,
and cognitive. Toronto: York University Department of Psychology.

Steiberg, D Danny. 1993. An Introduction to Psycholinguistics. London and

Newyork: Longman.
Dopke, Sussane. 1996. The Simultaneous Acquisition of Two Language. Australia:



Bilingual/. Retrieved May 12th 2015.
Retrieved May 12th 2015.