Edited by Irina A. Sekerina, Lauren Spradlin and Virginia Valian
[Studies in Bilingualism 57] 2019
► pp. 35–47
Chapter 3. Variation in language experience shapes the consequences of bilingualism
The use of two languages is common, but the circumstances that give rise to bilingualism are diverse. Recent discussions about the consequences of bilingualism have focused on how variation in language experience and use may differentially shape the engagement of cognitive control. In this paper, we illustrate the role of language variation in the observed consequences of bilingualism for language processing, language learning, and the neural mechanisms that support them. Like Green and Abutalebi (2013), we argue that the neurocognitive consequences of bilingualism are shaped by the specific ways in which the two languages are engaged. That process may reflect individual variation in cognitive control, experience with language regulation, and the influence of the environment in which the two languages were learned and are used actively. The emerging pattern is complex but systematic, with the influence of language experience sometimes revealed in behavior but often seen only in brain activity.