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Department Colloquium

Our first colloquium of the year took place on Wednesday Oct. 22nd. Daniel Siddiqi (School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton) with Jason D. Haugen presented On Monolistemicity and Post-Linearization Spanning.

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The next colloquium will be held this Friday November 7th at 2:30pm, Room 509 Arts. Dr. Vincent Gracco, from McGill University’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, will be presenting.

Some observations on the consequences of age of acquisition on the bilingual brain

It has been shown that developing exceptional language, motor and musical skill early in life leads to durable changes in the brain.  Bilingualism has added neurodevelopmental benefits by enhancing cognitive function in children and adults and may forestall the onset of dementia in the elderly. An issue of theoretical as well as psychosocial and educational importance is to what extent the benefits and associated brain changes related to second language acquisition is dependent on the age of acquisition. We are using neuroimaging techniques to address this issue. The overall focus of the research is to isolate the effect of age of acquisition on brain structure and function when second language proficiency is minimally different. Here I will present some recent data highlighting some of the functional and structural brain differences between highly proficient simultaneous bilinguals (two languages acquired from birth), highly proficient sequential bilinguals (second language learned after age 5), and monolinguals while speaking in the scanner. In addition, I will provide an overview of our future plans to incorporate more detailed behavioral and physiological techniques to obtain a more complete understanding of the potential benefits associated with early second language learning.

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