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Conferencia "Early versus late bilingualism: Consequences for cerebral representation and processing"

Dr. Michel Paradis, profesor emérito del departamento de la Universidad de McGill, especialista en neurolingüística del bilingüismo. viernes 30 de julio a las 12 Hrs. Auditorio del Instituto de Neurociencias. Informes con Lic. Yaira Chamorro, 38180740 ext. 5850. e-mail:



At least five systems are involved in verbal communication: (1) conceptual representations, (2) implicit linguistic competence, (3) explicit metalinguistic knowledge, (4) pragmatics, (5) affect/motivation. They are neurofunctionally distinct (doubly dissociable). All are involved in early and late bilingualism, but to quite different extents. Every individual with a normal FOXP2 gene and without severe mental defects acquires a native language. Not everyone who has acquired an L1 manages to acquire an L2. Not just the manner of appropriation, but the nature of what is appropriated (competence versus knowledge) is affected by age of acquisition. The acquisition of implicit competence is influenced by age both biologically (gradual loss of plasticity of the procedural memory for language after about age 5) and cognitively (greater reliance on declarative memory for learning in general and, consequently, for learning a language from about age 7). Neuroimaging studies show greater right-hemisphere activation (associated with more extensive reliance on pragmatics). Neuroimaging studies also show greater activations in parahippocampal gyrus and anterior cingular cortex (areas associated with declarative memory and conscious control) – evidence that L2 relies on metalinguistic knowledge to a greater extent. As a result, there are considerable inter-individual differences in level of ultimate achievement due to factors such as IQ, working memory span, attention span, level of education, degree of motivation (that are irrelevant for native language(s) acquisition), as well as differences across phonology, morphology, and syntax – suggesting an optimal period for implicit linguistic competence.