Not All Bilinguals Are the Same: A Call for More Detailed Assessments and Descriptions of Bilingual Experiences
de Bruin, Angela
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de Bruin, A. Not All Bilinguals Are the Same: A Call for More Detailed Assessments and Descriptions of Bilingual Experiences. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 33. doi.org/10.3390/bs9030033
No two bilinguals are the same. Differences in bilingual experiences can affect language-related processes but have also been proposed to modulate executive functioning. Recently, there has been an increased interest in studying individual differences between bilinguals, for example in terms of their age of acquisition, language proficiency, use, and switching. However, and despite the importance of this individual variation, studies often do not provide detailed assessments of their bilingual participants. This review first discusses several aspects of bilingualism that have been studied in relation to executive functioning. Next, I review different questionnaires and objective measurements that have been proposed to better define bilingual experiences. In order to better understand (effects of) bilingualism within and across studies, it is crucial to carefully examine and describe not only a bilingual’s proficiency and age of acquisition, but also their language use and switching as well as the different interactional contexts in which they use their languages.