Article (Scientific journals)
The relation between language and arithmetic in bilinguals: insights from different stages of language acquisition
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Brunner, Martin; Landerl, Karin et al.
2015In Frontiers in Psychology, 6, p. 265
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Keywords :
Numbers; Mathematics; Language learning; Bilingualism; Arithmetic; Addition
Abstract :
[en] Solving arithmetic problems is a cognitive task that heavily relies on language processing. One might thus wonder whether this language-reliance leads to qualitative differences (e.g., greater difficulties, error types, etc.) in arithmetic for bilingual individuals who frequently have to solve arithmetic problems in more than one language. The present study investigated how proficiency in two languages interacts with arithmetic problem solving throughout language acquisition in adolescents and young adults. Additionally, we examined whether the number word structure that is specific to a given language plays a role in number processing over and above bilingual proficiency. We addressed these issues in a German–French educational bilingual setting, where there is a progressive transition from German to French as teaching language. Importantly, German and French number naming structures differ clearly, as two-digit number names follow a unit-ten order in German, but a ten-unit order in French. We implemented a transversal developmental design in which bilingual pupils from grades 7, 8, 10, 11, and young adults were asked to solve simple and complex additions in both languages. The results confirmed that language proficiency is crucial especially for complex addition computation. Simple additions in contrast can be retrieved equally well in both languages after extended language practice. Additional analyses revealed that over and above language proficiency, language-specific number word structures (e.g., unit-ten vs. ten-unit) also induced significant modulations of bilinguals' arithmetic performances. Taken together, these findings support the view of a strong relation between language and arithmetic in bilinguals.
Disciplines :
Neurosciences & behavior
Theoretical & cognitive psychology
Author, co-author :
Van Rinsveld, Amandine ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS)
Brunner, Martin ;  Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany > Berlin-Brandenburg Institute for School Quality
Landerl, Karin;  University of Graz, Graz, Austria > Department of Psychology
Schiltz, Christine ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS)
Ugen, Sonja ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET)
External co-authors :
yes
Language :
English
Title :
The relation between language and arithmetic in bilinguals: insights from different stages of language acquisition
Publication date :
March 2015
Journal title :
Frontiers in Psychology
ISSN :
1664-1078
Publisher :
Switzerland Frontiers Research Foundation, Pully, Switzerland
Volume :
6
Pages :
265
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Funders :
FNR - Fonds National de la Recherche [LU]
Available on ORBilu :
since 19 April 2015

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