Searching for the bilingual advantage in executive functions in speakers of Hunsrückisch and other minority languages: a literature review
The issue of a bilingual advantage on executive functions has been a hotbed for research and debate. Brazilian studies with the minority language Hunsrückisch have failed to replicate the finding of a bilingual advantage found in international studies with majority languages. This raises the question of whether the reasons behind the discrepant results are related to the language’s minority status. The goal of this paper was to investigate the bilingual advantage on executive functions in studies with minority languages. This is a literature review focusing on state of the art literature on bilingualism and executive functions; as well as a qualitative analysis of the selected corpus in order to tackle the following questions: (1) is there evidence of a bilingual advantage in empirical studies involving minority languages? (2) are there common underlying causes for the presence or absence of the bilingual advantage? (3) can factors pertaining to the language’s minority status be linked to the presence or absence of a bilingual advantage? The analysis revealed that studies form a highly variable group, with mixed results regarding the bilingual advantage, as well as inconsistent controlling of social, cognitive and linguistic factors, as well as different sample sizes. As such, it was not possible to isolate which factors are responsible for the inconsistent results across studies. It is hoped this study will provide an overview that can serve as common ground for future studies involving the issue of a bilingual advantage with speakers of minority languages.
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