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Does bilingualism come with linguistic costs? A meta-analytic review of the bilingual lexical deficit
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5203-9175
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9254-9743
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2023 (English)In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, ISSN 1069-9384, E-ISSN 1531-5320, Vol. 30, no 3, p. 897-913Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A series of recent studies have shown that the once-assumed cognitive advantage of bilingualism finds little support in the evidence available to date. Surprisingly, however, the view that bilingualism incurs linguistic costs (the so-called lexical deficit) has not yet been subjected to the same degree of scrutiny, despite its centrality for our understanding of the human capacity for language. The current study implemented a comprehensive meta-analysis to address this gap. By analyzing 478 effect sizes from 130 studies on expressive vocabulary, we found that observed lexical deficits could not be attributed to bilingualism: Simultaneous bilinguals (who acquired both languages from birth) did not exhibit any lexical deficit, nor did sequential bilinguals (who acquired one language from birth and a second language after that) when tested in their mother tongue. Instead, systematic evidence for a lexical deficit was found among sequential bilinguals when tested in their second language, and more so for late than for early second language learners. This result suggests that a lexical deficit may be a phenomenon of second language acquisition rather than bilingualism per se.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 30, no 3, p. 897-913
Keywords [en]
Age of acquisition, Bilingualism, Lexical deficit, Executive control, Vocabulary
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-211633DOI: 10.3758/s13423-022-02136-7ISI: 000878441800002PubMedID: 36327027Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85141391684OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-211633DiVA, id: diva2:1713409
Available from: 2022-11-25 Created: 2022-11-25 Last updated: 2023-12-15Bibliographically approved

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Bylund, EmanuelAbrahamsson, NiclasNorrman, Gunnar

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