Brain Mapping of Lexico-Semantic Functions in Bilinguals

Volume 16
Issue 1
Angela Grant & P¡ng Li
In a typical cognitive experiment, you may be shown an image of a dog and asked to name it. As a monolingual, you have several options: “dog” “poodle” “canine”, and so on. As a bilingual, however, your options are doubled. Consequently, how bilinguals select and utter the correct word for a particular object has been carefully studied in psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics. Many neuroimaging studies over the past several years have focused on the spatial aspect of this question, but other aspects, such as the developmental time course and differences between individuals, remain largely uninvestigated. In this article we provide a brief review of the literature, along with some pointers to new directions of research concerning individual variability and the development of lexico-semantic functions in bilinguals.

Key words: Second language acquisition, bilingualism, longitudinal design, individual differences