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Open AccessArticle

The Differential Role of Executive Functions in the Cognitive Control of Language Switching

1
Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security, University of Maryland, 7005 52nd Avenue, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2
Language Acquisition, Multilingualism, and Cognition Laboratory/Bilingualism Matters @ Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5, Canada
3
Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, Florida State University, 625 University Way, P.O. Box 3061540, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The author is now at SAS Institute.
Languages 2020, 5(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5020019
Received: 22 February 2020 / Revised: 28 April 2020 / Accepted: 29 April 2020 / Published: 5 May 2020
Studies of bilingual speech production suggest that different executive functions (EFs) contribute to the cognitive control of language production. However, no study has simultaneously examined the relationship between different EFs and language control during online speech production. The current study examined individual differences in three EFs (working memory updating, inhibitory control, and task-set switching) and their relationship with performance in a trilingual language-switching task for a group of forty-seven native English (L1) speakers learning French (L2) and Spanish (L3). Analyses indicate complex interactions between EFs and language switching: better inhibitory control was related to smaller L1 switch costs, whereas better working memory was related to larger L1 switch costs. Working memory was also related to larger L2 switch costs, but only when switching from L1. These results support theories of cognitive control that implicate both global and local control mechanisms, and suggest unique contributions of each EF to both global and local cognitive control during language switching. Finally, we discuss the implications for theories of multilingual language control. View Full-Text
Keywords: language control; trilingualism; inhibitory control; working memory; individual differences; language switching language control; trilingualism; inhibitory control; working memory; individual differences; language switching
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MDPI and ACS Style

Linck, J.A.; Schwieter, J.W.; Sunderman, G. The Differential Role of Executive Functions in the Cognitive Control of Language Switching. Languages 2020, 5, 19. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5020019

AMA Style

Linck JA, Schwieter JW, Sunderman G. The Differential Role of Executive Functions in the Cognitive Control of Language Switching. Languages. 2020; 5(2):19. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5020019

Chicago/Turabian Style

Linck, Jared A.; Schwieter, John W.; Sunderman, Gretchen. 2020. "The Differential Role of Executive Functions in the Cognitive Control of Language Switching" Languages 5, no. 2: 19. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5020019

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