Project: Bilingualism and Bi-dialectalism
There is a widespread impression in Western societies that monolingualism is the norm, but in fact most people function in multilingual and/or bi-dialectal settings. In Europe, an EU Commission report in 2012 indicated that 54% of the population can functionally use a second language and a quarter is able to speak more than two. Equally, the European sociolinguistic landscape suggests that bi-dialectals –that is, speakers of two closely related linguistic varieties, known as dialects- exist across Europe (e.g. in Belgium with speakers of West Flemish and Dutch, and in Switzerland with speakers of High and Swiss German). Recently, research on the cognitive effects of bilingualism has seen a steep increase, reflecting an awareness that findings with monolinguals do not apply to a substantial portion of the world population and that the mind and brain possibly function differently in bilinguals. Relative to bilingualism, however, bi-dialectalism has so far received little research attention (at least from a comparative perspective that contrasts bi-dialectals’ neuro-cognitive profile to that of monolinguals and bilinguals).
The two-year project NeuroBid led by Dr.Kyriacos Antoniou in collaboration with As.Prof. Georgios Spanoudes, is the first research study to focus on bi-dialectalism by taking a comparative perspective and by comprehensively examining a specific cognitive system, executive control, at both the neural and the cognitive level. It aims to achieve this goal by comparing bilinguals’ and bi-dialectals’ cognitive functioning to that of monolinguals using both behavioural (accuracy scores, reaction times) and psychophysiological (Event-Related Potentials) measures. Τhis way, Neurobid will contribute to a better understanding of bi-dialectalism and will also answer important questions in the cognitive research on bilingualism (e.g. whether the language similarity between bilinguals’ languages modulates the cognitive effects of bilingualism and which aspects of the executive control system, if any, are affected by bilingualism).
The project started in March 2018 and is supported financially by the European Union’s Framework Programme, Horizon 2020 with a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship.