The social consequences of early multilingual exposure /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Fan, Peishan, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (74 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Katherine D. Kinzler Committee members: Susan Goldin-Meadow; Boaz Keysar; Amanda Woodward.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: B.
Summary:Language is inherently social, and different linguistic experiences can provide different social input. Children who are regularly exposed to a multilingual environment have regular experience taking the linguistic perspective of others, and tracking social content such as who speaks and affiliates with whom. This dissertation explores the early social-cognitive consequences of being raised in a multilingual environment. In a first series of studies, we investigated whether early bilingual language exposure facilitates effective social communication on a task that requires taking the perspective of someone else. In Part 1, we observed that 4-6-year-old children who were exposed to more than one language were better able to understand an interlocutor's intended meaning on a social communication task. Interestingly, we observed these effects even among children who were exposed to another language, yet who were not bilingual themselves, and analyses revealed that differences in children's performance was not accounted for by differences in executive function. Thus, early diverse socio-linguistic experiences may confer benefits in social communication that do not depend on actually speaking multiple languages. Part 2 tested a related task with adults. We aimed to see whether adults who had been exposed to a multilingual environment early in life would outperform monolingual adults on the same social communication task. We did not observe reliable differences between groups, yet limitations of the current dataset are also discussed. Finally, Part 3 tested whether children who are exposed to a multilingual environment early in life may respond differently to failure, and persist on a task that that is impossible. Preliminary evidence suggests that children who were exposed to a multilingual environment were more likely to persist than monolinguals. Taken together, our findings suggest that early exposure to a multilingual environment may yield social consequences related to people's interpersonal communication skills and their persistent responses in the face of failure.