The bilingual effects of linguistic distances on episodic memory and verbal fluency

Document identifier: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-77801
Access full text here:10.1111/sjop.12609
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics, Teknik och teknologier, Maskinteknik, Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi, Bilingualism, Episodic memory, Verbal letter fluency, Categorical fluency, Linguistic distance, Cognitive functioning, Engineering Psychology, Teknisk psykologi
Publication year: 2020
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SDG 3 Good health and wellbeingSDG 4 Quality education
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Abstract:

The impact of linguistic distance or the relatedness between two languages, on bilinguals’ episodic memory performance and verbal fluency is an understudied area. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine if differences in linguistic distances have differential effects on these abilities. Measures of episodic recognition, categorical fluency, and global cognitive functioning were also considered in the analyses. Two matched samples with participants living and educated in Sweden were drawn from the Betula Prospective Cohort Study. Results showed that bilinguals who speak linguistically similar languages (Swedish and English), performed significantly better than monolinguals on both episodic memory recall and letter fluency, while bilinguals who speak two languages that are more distant (Swedish and Finnish), showed no advantages compared to their monolingual counterparts. For both tasks, however, a linear trend was observed indicative of better performance for the Swedish‐English group compared to the Finnish‐Swedish group, and for the Swedish‐Finnish group compared to the monolinguals group. As expected, no differences between groups were found in any of the other cognitive tasks. Overall, results suggest that the impact of linguistic distances should be explored in more detail in the future.

Authors

Jessica Körning-Ljungberg

Luleå tekniska universitet; Människa och teknik; Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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Pia Elbe

Luleå tekniska universitet; Människa och teknik; Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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Daniel E. Sörman

Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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