Executive Functions in Connection with the Development of Bilingual Speech of Senior Pre-schoolers [PDF]

Vera Khotinets, Oksana Kozhevnikova
Udmurt State University, Russian Federation

Abstract: The paper analyzes the topical problems of bilingualism effects and its benefits in cognitive control of speech activity in two or more languages. In psychological science, there is insufficient research on the cognitive regulation of bilinguals in connection with speech development in the first and the second languages especially of children in the pre-school period that is characterized by a leap in speech development, functional restructuring, and expansion of regulatory resources. There is scarcity of works related to the specifics of cognitive control of speech activity of bilingual children with different levels of language proficiency and usage. The research aim was to examine the regulatory functions coordinative and subordinative preschool bilinguals in actualization of speech activity in their native and Russian languages. The study involved 65 bilingual children (Udmurt/Russian) aged 5.7 to 7.5 from preschool institutions of the Udmurt Republic: children with coordinative bilingualism (n = 32, 15 boys, 17 girls) equally speaking both languages and subordinative bilingualism with significant interference of the dominant language (mother tongue) while using the other (n = 33, 17 boys, 16 girls). Data collection materials were presented to the subjects in two versions: in the native and Russian languages. Theresearch techniques used in the study included: the Stroop Color and Word Test, “The Classification of Geometric Figures” “Verbal memory” “Visual Memory” “Verbal antonyms,” “Verbal classifications,” “Speech development (correction, restoration, completion of statements)” tests. The methods of mathematical statistics – descriptive statistics, the Mann-Whitney U-test, the Spearman correlation coefficient were used in data analysis. Based on the results of the empirical study, the fact of the absence of significant differences in the cognitive regulation of speech activity in the native language of preschoolers with coordinative and subordinative bilingualism was established. The obtained research results confirm astatement of Vygotsky’s cultural-historical theory that speech development causes changes in the development of regulatory functions. The practical significance of the findings is reinforced by the escalation of emigration processes in most countries increasing the professional responsibility of educators in supporting diversity and preserving the uniqueness of the childhood as an important stage in the general development of a person.
Keywords: cognitive flexibility, coordinative and subordinative bilingualism, executive functions, interference control, preschool age, speech development, udmurts, working memory.


In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2021 = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2021
Rīga, University of Latvia, 2021. 1148 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-18-735-3