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Language and Cognitive Aspects of Child Bilingualism

Research Observations and Classroom Applications


Maria Andreou

This book investigates how bilingualism affects children’s language, cognitive and narrative abilities. The data sample derives from 209 8-12 years old bilingual children, in three different targeted languages (Greek-English, Greek-German, Greek-Albanian) along with 100 monolingual Greek children. The children completed baseline and experimental tasks measuring their vocabulary, grammar, cognitive skills, and narrative production abilities. The outcome of this work reveals that learning to read and write in two languages is beneficial for the development of language and cognitive skills. A strong case can be made to the growing bilingual communities in Germany and beyond to provide literacy training in both languages within mainstream schools, afternoon classes outside of the curriculum or in community schools.

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This book is a revision of my doctoral thesis under the title “The effects of bilingualism on verbal and nonverbal cognition: The micro- and macrostructure of narratives in the weak and the dominant language of the bilingual child” which was conducted as part of the project Thales “Bilingual Acquisition & Bilingual Education: The Development of Linguistic and Cognitive Abilities in Different Types of Bilingualism” under the leadership of Professor Ianthi Tsimpli at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

I am grateful to my supervisor Professor Ianthi Maria Tsimpli who introduced me to this area of study and offered guidance, advice and support throughout the project. I am deeply thankful to Professor Christiane Bongartz, who has been my mentor during the last four years at the University of Cologne.

This book is affectionately dedicated to Orestis and my parents who always supported and believed in me.

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