Edited by Gigi Luk, John A.E. Anderson and John G. Grundy
[Studies in Bilingualism 64] 2023
► pp. 210–229
Ellen Bialystok’s research on bilingualism and cognition has transformed our understanding of how life experience with two or more languages has enduring consequences for the mind and the brain. But how do these consequences arise? In this chapter we focus on models of bilingual language processing and the metaphors that they have generated for testing hypotheses about how learning and using two languages engage domain general cognition and the neural mechanisms that support it. Research in the last two decades provides compelling support for the view that the bilingual’s two languages are continually interacting. Those interactions create mutual influences that are dynamic, changing within individuals across the lifespan and from one context to another, even over relatively short periods of time. Cross-language interactions have been hypothesized to impose unique demands on cognition that make bilingual minds and brains different from those of monolingual speakers. The models that characterize bilingual language processing capture different aspects of this process, some focused on the linguistic processes themselves, and others on the way that each language is regulated or controlled when there is potential cross-language competition. Here we illustrate each type of model and consider how the models themselves provide metaphors for thinking about how bilingualism affects cognition.