This lecture focuses on multilingualism in children and adults from the perspective of a theory of interfaces between language and general cognition. Referring expressions (such as pronouns) and other structures requiring efficient updating of context-dependent information develop later in bilingual children, remain variable in highly proficient second language (L2) speakers, and become unstable in speakers experiencing native language (L1) attrition from a second language. An interdisciplinary approach that considers the interaction of linguistic and cognitive factors can account for these facts, and also explain some emerging generalizations about the “good language learner” at different stages of life.
Antonella Sorace is Professor of Developmental Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. She is a world leading authority in the field of bilingual language development across the lifespan, where she brings together methods from linguistics, experimental psychology, and cognitive science. She is also committed to disseminating the findings of research on bilingualism in different sectors of society. She is the founding director of the information and public engagement centre Bilingualism Matters, which has 16 branches all over Europe and in the US.