Bilingualism and Cognition

Many Questions and Some Answers
Date: 
Mon, 11/02/2015 - 4:00pm
Location: 
5106 Social Sciences
Speaker and Affiliation: 
Cristina Sanz, Georgetown University

Does bilingualism affect cognition? If so, what are the conditions that mediate those effects? Are they internal/individual, such as age, aging or proficiency? Or are they external and contextual, such as access to bilingual education and, consequently, biliteracy? Also, as linguists, we are interested in understanding why bilinguals learning a third language seem to do better than monolinguals. Is it because the bilingual experience enhances general aptitude, working memory capacity/attentional control, motivation, learning strategy use, all of the above? What are the consequences for the teaching of additional languages to multilinguals? 

Cristina Sanz (Lic. U of Barcelona; PhD, University of Illinois, Ch-U) is Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Georgetown University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on bilingualism and cognition, instructed second language acquisition and teaching methods. She is also the Director of the Georgetown-at-Barcelona Summer Study Abroad Program, the Intensive & School of Foreign Service Language Programs and was co-director (with Michael Ullman) of the Center for the Brain Basis of Cognition. An expert on bilingualism and second language acquisition, her edited volume Mind and Context in Adult Second Language Acquisition (GUPress 2005) received the MLA’s Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize for an Outstanding Research Publication. She has published widely in such scholarly venues as Applied Psycholinguistics, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, International Journal of Multilingualism, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Language Learning, Modern Language Journal, and Neuropsychologia. Professor Sanz was the recipient of the 2014 Georgetown’s Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is currently writing, in Spanish, a Handbook for Teachers of Spanish and editing a volume on the development of language and identity in study/stay abroad contexts.
Sponsor(s): 
Anonymous Fund, the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Visiting Scholars Fund, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese