CLS Speaker Series - Gigi Luk (Harvard Graduate School of Education) Bilingualism as a transdisciplinary field: What are the next questions?
Dec 03, 2015
from 02:30 PM to 04:00 PM
|Where||127 Moore Building|
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Bilingualism as a transdisciplinary field: What are the next questions?
In this talk, I plan to argue that the debate on “bilingual advantage” is oversimplified, which risks dividing researchers into taking sides of a binary response on this question. The consequence is that no meaningful insights will result from this debate. Instead, harnessing cognitive neuroscience findings on brain differences associated with bilingual experience, we can ask relevant questions that will inform our understanding of bilingual development and learning. I will address two problems of fixating on the debate of the existence of “bilingual advantage”, primarily on the divergence of tasks and sample characteristics. Secondly, I will provide a framework of three research directions, namely measurement, relevance, and continuity, that go beyond the monolingual-bilingual comparison. In the third section, I will connect these three research directions to cognitive neuroscience, posing developmental questions from what we know about bilingualism and aging. I will end the talk with a quote from Peal & Lambert’s 1962 paper suggesting that looking at advantage/disadvantage does not advance our understanding on bilingualism and the developing mind. Considering bilingualism as a transdisciplinary field and ask questions focusing on differences will unify researchers in psychology, psycholinguistics, neuroscience, and education.