, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 705-710

The bilingual advantage in novel word learning

Abstract

The present study examined whether bilingualism facilitates acquisition of novel words in adults with different language histories. Word-learning performance was tested in monolingual English speakers, early English—Spanish bilinguals, and early English—Mandarin bilinguals. Novel words were phonologically unfamiliar to all participants, and they were acquired in association with their English translations. At testing, both bilingual groups outperformed the monolingual group. These findings indicate that bilingualism facilitates word-learning performance in adults, and they suggest a general bilingual advantage for novel word learning.