Semantron 23 Summer 2023


study, yet this doesn’t explain the range of results in the Bail Morini and Newman study of 2015. Furthermore, a study by Peal and Lambert carried out in Montreal entailed language and non-verbal special testing of French-English bilingual and French monolingual children and expected to find a bilingual increase proficiency in language testing but equal non-verbal results. 7 However, unexpectedly the bilingual children showed increased proficiency in all areas of testing. This can be explained by the increased cognitive function that is necessary to master two languages: in symbol manipulating activities the bilingual children showed an increased ability to solve puzzles, as a result of their experience in manipulating sentence structures with different languages into coherent meanings from their infant years. Peal and Lambert described this using the term ‘ mental flexibility ’ , which serves to underline their positive prescription for use of code-switching in the household for children learning language. In conclusion, with studies as to the extent to which code-switching assists language learning and even cognitive function producing such variable results, it is reasonable to state that this specific area requires more research. With further understanding, a view of code-switching as having a positive effect on cognitive function could influence educational choices, most importantly within the household by parents. For example, researchers fifty years ago falsely told immigrant parents not to use code-switching in the household, as it would result in reduced language proficiency for the child. With current research highlighting the inaccuracy in this, it is possible that further research will highlight the optimal ways for childhood language learning and increasing cognitive function, suggesting that code-switching is prescribed as good practice in day-to-day life.

7 Peal E, Lambert W. The relation of bilingualism to intelligence. Psychol. Monogr. 1962;76:1 – 23. [Google Scholar] [Ref list].


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