Bilingual children show an advantage in controlling verbal interference during spoken language comprehension

Filippi, Roberto and Morris, John and Richardson, Fiona M. and Bright, Peter and Thomas, Michael and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Marian, Viorica (2015) Bilingual children show an advantage in controlling verbal interference during spoken language comprehension. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18. pp. 490-501. ISSN 1469-1841

Accepted Version
Available under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (685kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Studies measuring inhibitory control in the visual modality have shown a bilingual advantage in both children and adults. However, there is a lack of developmental research on inhibitory control in the auditory modality. This study compared the comprehension of active and passive English sentences in 7–10 years old bilingual and monolingual children. The task was to identify the agent of a sentence in the presence of verbal interference. The target sentence was cued by the gender of the speaker. Children were instructed to focus on the sentence in the target voice and ignore the distractor sentence. Results indicate that bilinguals are more accurate than monolinguals in comprehending syntactically complex sentences in the presence of linguistic noise. This supports previous findings with adult participants (Filippi, Leech, Thomas, Green & Dick, 2012). We therefore conclude that the bilingual advantage in interference control begins early in life and is maintained throughout development.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: bilingualism, executive function, sentence comprehension, spoken language processing, inhibitory control, control of interference
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Professor Peter Bright
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2017 12:50
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:01

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item