Bilingualism vs. Monolingualism | TESL Issues



Bilinguals, like monolinguals, demonstrate left hemisphere dominance for language knowledge.

The early work on hemispheric differentiation in bilinguals (Albert & Obler, 1978) suggested that L1 and L2 learning drew on different mechanisms. Studies of aphasia indicated that bilinguals were less hemisphere dominant than monolinguals. Albert and Obler claimed that language is organised in the brain of the bilingual in a manner different from that which might have been predicted by studies of cerebral organisation for language monolinguals. Studies of monolinguals have indicated that the left hemisphere is dominant for language in most individuals. Studies on bilinguals demonstrate not only the left hemispheric role in language but also a major right hemispheric contribution. Galloway (1980) also noted differences in the aphasias of monolinguals and bilinguals. She found that 98 percent of aphasias in monolinguals were due to left-hemisphere lesions and only 2 percent to right-hemisphere lesions, while for bilinguals the ratio was 85 percent and 15 percent.

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