Papastergiou, Athanasia

Athanasia Papastergiou
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Language and cognitive abilities in bilingual children and the role of educational context
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Eirini Sanoudaki, Dr Enlli Thomas, Dr Vicky Chondrogianni
Supervising school:
School of Linguistics & English Language,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Current studies highlight the benefits of bilingualism on children’s cognitive development, especially executive functioning. Cognitive benefits can be modulated by language proficiency and the age of acquisition of the two languages, among other things. Furthermore, recent research seems to suggest that the type of educational programme may be as important in shaping the relationship between language and cognitive abilities. However, recent studies examining executive functions in bilingual children have provided mixed results.

The purpose of this study is to investigate i) how age of acquisition and language proficiency, among other factors, affect executive functions and ii) if the length of exposure to a bilingual educational context influences language and cognition. The language and cognitive abilities of bilingual children, aged 5-12, will be examined in both languages using a range of tasks investigating grammar, vocabulary, as well as cognition and working memory.

We aim to contribute to the existing literature and to theories of language and cognition regarding how bilingual language and cognitive abilities are shaped by educational experience among other variables.