Cognitive Underpinnings of Language: A Framework for the Study of Multilingualism

By Manon Robillard and Chantal Mayer-Crittenden.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 01, 2014 $US5.00

An increase in research demonstrating the evidence of a connection between children’s cognitive skills and language abilities is available. Accordingly, cognition would be a necessary component to the development of language skills. Indeed, both working memory and sustained attention deficits have been linked to primary language impairments. The impact of multilingualism on cognition has also been greatly documented. Although some studies suggest a cognitive advantage of multilingualism, debates on this topic still remain. Moreover, the influence of cognition on the language development of multilingual children has yet to be well documented. For instance, do cognitive skills have the same impact on the language abilities of multilingual children than they have on monolingual children? The purpose of this article is to propose a framework for the study of multilingualism, which would involve the analysis of multiple cognitive abilities and that would focus on the cognitive underpinnings that are common to all languages.

Keywords: Multilingualism, Language Development, Cognition

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, April 2014, pp.19-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 01, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 446.532KB)).

Dr. Manon Robillard

Assistant Professor, Speech and Language Pathology Programs, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Manon Robillard is currently an assistant professor for the Speech-language Pathology program at Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada. She is also a speech-language pathologist with 14 years of clinical experience in childhood communication disorders. Manon received her Ph.D. from the interdisciplinary Human Studies program at Laurentian University. Her current research interests involve the relationship between cognition skills and young children’s language abilities. She is also studying the benefit of a cognitive linguistic approach to the treatment of primary language impairments. She is also interested in the impact of bilingualism on cognitive and language skills. She has a variety of speaking engagement experience including at International conferences.

Dr. Chantal Mayer-Crittenden

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Professional Schools, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Chantal Mayer-Crittenden is a speech-language pathologist and assistant professor in the Speech-language Pathology program at Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada. She has a special interest in primary language impairment (PLI), interdisciplinary research and bilingualism. Chantal received her Ph.D. from the interdisciplinary Human Studies program at Laurentian University, she is currently working on her doctoral thesis. She is examining the linguistic and cognitive abilities of bilingual children with a PLI. She has presented at the international level on this topic. Further, she is also working on a minor component related to interdisciplinary studies in the field of communication sciences and disorders.