Cognitive Development in Bilingual Environments
In spite of extensive resources committed to bilingual education for programmatic implementation in the United States over the last decade, very little basic research has focused on fundamental questions relating to an understanding of the bilingual child. From the psycholinguistic viewpoint, cognitive development and language development are intimately related, as indicated in the vast body of psycholinguistic research that has emerged in recent years. Although studies focusing on first language development and relationships to cognitive functioning have given insights into general developmental aspects of young children, they leave open the question of the special issue concerning the young child who from language onset is simultaneously developing in two languages or who is undergoing the encoding of a second language in the childhood years. To meet the needs of these children more adequately with educationally sound bilingual programs in the school setting and to understand more completely the interactions with the bilingual environments in which these children participate, much more extensive empirical research is needed on the relationships between cognitive and language development in bilingual children from a developmental psycholinguistic viewpoint and, in turn, on the interaction of these relationships with educational programs.
KeywordsCognitive Development Cognitive Flexibility Divergent Thinking Bilingual Child Linguistic Competence
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