Northwestern Events Calendar


Distinguished Lecturer in Multilingualism and Language Learning - Judith Kroll: Consequences of bilingualism for mind, brain, and society

When: Wednesday, November 29, 2017
3:00 PM - 5:30 PM CT

Where: Norris University Center, Louis Room, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Irene Sakk   (847) 491-7020

Group: Linguistics Department

Co-Sponsor: Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Academic


This is the second in an annual series of events. This year, we are planning for the event to follow up on the recently released report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Language Commission, "America's Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century."


Judith F. Kroll

Department of Psychology
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521

The use of two or more languages is common in most places in the world.  Yet, until recently, bilingualism was considered to be a complicating factor for language processing, cognition, and the brain. In the past 20 years, there has been an upsurge of research that examines the cognitive and neural bases of second language learning and bilingualism and the resulting consequences for cognition and for brain structure and function over the lifespan. Contrary to the view that bilingualism adds complication to the language system, the new research demonstrates that all languages that are known and used become part of the same language system. A critical insight is that bilingualism provides a tool for examining aspects of the cognitive architecture that are otherwise obscured by the skill associated with native language performance in monolingual speakers. In this talk I illustrate this approach and consider the consequences that bilingualism holds more generally for society when language learning and active bilingualism are encouraged.

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