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The Effect Of Bilingualism On The Working Memory

1662 words - 7 pages

Learning and memory are related to each other. So, people look at them as one issue. However, the specialists consider them two different processes. You can learn any language by living in the country in which the language is spoken or by studying it at school. Then, you can use your memory to speak that language by retrieving the words that you have memorized. Memory is important to learn anything. It helps you to store the information then you can use them in need. Our memory is not only one process. Psychologically, different kinds of memory are working in humans. Accordingly, different parts of brain are at work. Both memory and learning are depending on each ...view middle of the document...

3-Recessive bilinguals
This term is used to describe bilinguals who are gradually losing one of the two languages as a result of disuse.

Bilingualism as Cognitive ability
Chin and Wigglesworth said “Knowing two languages simply means gaining access to two different worlds and having twice the opportunities”(2007,p.53). Some parents thought that bilingualism has a bad effect on their children. They thought that when their children learn two languages, they will confuse one language with the other. So, their children will not learn any of the two languages successfully. This is what known as Separate Underlying Proficiency. Autumnfeild (2011) believed that when a child learns two languages, she/he will have two different systems and they do not work together when they are talking or thinking. Many scholars believed that mastering one language leads to losing the other language.
In contrast to the Separate Underlying Theory, the Common Underlying Theory shows that the two languages are saved together but they do not operate separately. Baker and Jones said , “there is substantial interaction between the two languages, with language switching and cooperative sharing. The amount of room or thinking space available seems vast, even endless (1998, p.24).”

Baker and Jones (1989) said that learning two languages affects each other. When one language increases the other decreases.

Landry (1974) and Cummins (1977) said that when children learn the second language in elementary school, their divergent thinking will be increased. Hill,R et al. (2004) stated that some studies used divergent thinking tests and they showed that bilinguals are better than monolinguals . The results support the idea that having two linguistic systems might reinforce cognitive thinking.

Galambos and Hakuta (1988) found that the performance of bilinguals depends upon their proficiency in their language. Cummins created the Threshold theory (1976) which highlighted the academic transfer across languages. There are some studies which supported Cummin’s theory. Ricciardelli conducted a study to find the effect of bilingualism on children’s cognitive ability and creativity. He found that the performance of children who were proficient in both Italian and English language was better than those who were proficient in English only. Threshold Theory explains how a child becomes a balanced bilingual. The Threshold Theory is divided into three different thresholds. The first threshold is when the child’s competence in both languages is low. The second threshold is when the child understands one of the two languages but not the other. The third threshold is when the child has a perfect control of both languages.

Figure .The Threshold Model

Language proficiency
Hill,R et al said “the degree of proficiency that an individual has in each language is an obvious indicator of bilingualism . The key feature of language proficiency can be...

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