Article Details

Article Details

Bilingualism in Sardinia and Scotland: Exploring the cognitive benefits of speaking a ‘minority’ language

Author: Laughlan, Fraser; Parisi, Marinella; Fadda, Roberta
Publisher: International Journal of Bilingualism
Date of Publication: 2012
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A study investigating the cognitive benefits of bilingualism in children who speak the minority languages of Sardinian and Scottish Gaelic in addition to their respective ‘national’ languages (Italian and English). Both bilingual and monolingual children were administered a series of standardised cognitive ability tests targeted at four areas: cognitive control, problem-solving ability, metalinguistic awareness and working memory. The bilingual children significantly outperformed the monolingual children in two of the four sub-tests; the Scottish children significantly outperformed the Sardinian children in one of the sub-tests. The differences found were largely due to the superior performance of the Scottish bilingual children who receive a formal bilingual education, in contrast to the Sardinian bilingual children who mostly only speak the minority language at home. The implications of the results are discussed.


University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages