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Article

Nonverbal Switching Ability of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with and without Developmental Language Disorder

1
Department of Literature, Languages and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
2
Department of Education and Pedagogy, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
3
Department of Language and Culture, The Arctic University of Norway, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stephanie Durrleman
Languages 2022, 7(2), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020108
Received: 3 December 2021 / Revised: 21 March 2022 / Accepted: 21 April 2022 / Published: 28 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Cognitive Effects of Bilingualism in Developmental Disorders)
Bilingualism is associated with enhanced switching skills, while a developmental language disorder (DLD) may negatively impact switching ability. However, both studies with bilinguals as well as studies including children with DLD have revealed mixed results. Moreover, the interaction of bilingualism and DLD has not been addressed and the origin of the stronger or weaker switching performance is unknown. The current study aimed to fill these gaps. Monolingual and bilingual children with and without DLD (n = 32 in each of the four groups) completed a nonverbal color/shape switching task when they were 7 to 8 years old, and a Continuous Performance Task two years earlier. The latter tapped into their response inhibition and sustained attention skills, which may underlie switching ability. No differences between monolinguals and bilinguals were found on the switching task. Children with DLD had higher mixing costs than peers without DLD, which was driven by differences in sustained attention skills. These results add to the body of research indicating that the cognitive advantages of bilingualism are unstable. Additionally, the results substantiate the hypothesis that attention processes are foundational for complex cognitive skills, such as switching, and suggest cascading effects for children with weaker attention skills, such as children with DLD. View Full-Text
Keywords: bilingualism; developmental language disorder; executive functioning; switching; sustained attention; response inhibition bilingualism; developmental language disorder; executive functioning; switching; sustained attention; response inhibition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Boerma, T.; van Witteloostuijn, M.; Blom, E. Nonverbal Switching Ability of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with and without Developmental Language Disorder. Languages 2022, 7, 108. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020108

AMA Style

Boerma T, van Witteloostuijn M, Blom E. Nonverbal Switching Ability of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with and without Developmental Language Disorder. Languages. 2022; 7(2):108. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020108

Chicago/Turabian Style

Boerma, Tessel, Merel van Witteloostuijn, and Elma Blom. 2022. "Nonverbal Switching Ability of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with and without Developmental Language Disorder" Languages 7, no. 2: 108. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020108

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