Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The effect of language of instruction on reasoning in bilingual children

  • Marguerite E. Malakoff (a1)

The effect of language of instruction on verbal reasoning of balanced bilingual children was investigated. Subjects were 36 sixth-grade French-English bilinguals who were receiving primary instruction in either French or English. Eight types of verbal analogies were created by varying the language of the analogy stem (French or English), the language of the analogy solution (French or English), and level of difficulty (easy or hard). The primary analysis was conducted through ANOVA with program type as between-subjects variable and item types as repeated measures factors. The results showed a significant interaction between language of instruction and language of presentation. In addition, there were different language effects for the two groups. The introduction of the noninstructional language (French) had a significant effect on the mean response time of the English Language Program Group at both levels of difficulty. The French Language Program Group showed a more complex pattern of results: there was a statistically significant advantage for the All-English items as compared with the All-French items on the easy analogies but a trend towards poorer performance upon introduction of English on the hard analogies. These results are discussed in terms of the differences between the two groups of subjects and the effect of academic experience on language-related thought processes and fluency. The distinction between contextualized and decontextualized language is also discussed.

Corresponding author
Marguerite E. Malakoff, Yale University, Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 11A Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520-7447, U.S.A.
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. Ben-Zeev (1977). The influence of bilingualism on cognitive strategy and cognitive development. Child Development, 48, 10091018.

J. Cummins (1977). Cognitive factors associated with the attainment of intermediate levels of bilingual skill. Modern Language Journal, 61, 312.

J. Cummins (1980). The cross-lingual dimensions of language proficiency: Implications for bilingual education and the optimal age issue. TESOL Quarterly, 14, 175187.

R. G. Davidson , S. P. Kline , & C. E. Snow (1986). Definitions and definite noun phrases: Indicators of children's decontextualized language skills. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 1, 3748.

R. Diaz (1983). Thought and two languages: The impact of bilingualism on cognitive development. In E. Gordon (Ed.), Review of Research in Education. Washington DC: American Educational Research Association.

R. Diaz (1985). Bilingual cognitive development: Addressing three gaps in current research. Child Development, 56, 13761388.

F. Genesee (1979). Scholastic effects of French immersion: An overview after ten years. Interchange, 9, 2029.

A. Ianco-Worrall (1972). Bilingualism and cognitive development. Child Development, 43, 13901400.

E. Peal , & W. E. Lambert (1962). The relation of bilingualism to intelligence. Psychological Monographs, 76, (27, Whole No. 546).

R. J. Stemberg , & G. Nigro (1980). Developmental patterns in the solution of verbal analogies. Child Development, 51, 2738.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
  • URL: /core/journals/applied-psycholinguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 13 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 128 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.