Investigating Multilingual Adolescents’ Cognitive and Codeswitching Performance: An Exploratory Application of Language Control Models

21st May 2019 : 13:00 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Applied Linguistics

Speaker: Mae Zantout, University of Oxford

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Rooms G/H

Convener: Hamish Chalmers

Seminar Abstract

Different interactional settings require multilingual speakers to switch from one language to another (i.e., to ‘code-switch’) or to speak in one language only. This ability to alternate languages, or adhere to one language, involves a language control mechanism—a core element of Green’s Inhibitory Control Model (ICM), Adaptive Control Hypothesis (ACH) and the Control Process Model (CPM).

The presentation will focus on the main findings of my doctoral project which explores the application of the aforementioned models and hypothesis in a multilingual context, Lebanon, by examining 30 English-immersion and 30 French-immersion trilingual speakers (aged 17-18) who are either highly proficient in two or three languages (Arabic, English, and/or French). The project also examines how language proficiency, self-reported code-switching behaviour, language use, and other elements of language experience influence cognitive and linguistic task performance. Results from the Flanker task, the arrow Simon task, a backward digit span task, a picture-naming task, and a narration task are presented, lending (partial) support for the theoretical models adopted. Implications of the role of the third language and language experience in modulating cognitive and linguistic performance vis-à-vis the control processes in the models are also offered.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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