Language and Cognitive Control in low and high proficient Bilinguals


  • Shahab Ahmad Almaaytah
  • Saddm H.M. Issa
  • Ghassan Adnan Hasan
  • Jassim Abdullah Al Herz



Context: Language-exposed individuals, or "bilinguals," are able to understand and use two or more languages. On the basis of their skill in the second language, bilinguals can be categorised as either low proficient or high proficient. It is controversial whether high-proficient bilinguals have superior cognitive control versus low-proficient bilinguals, or whether the benefit is limited to language management alone.

Aim: The current study was carried out with the aim of testing the language and cognitive control

Settings and Design: Convenient sampling was followed for the recruitment of participants. Comparative group design was used to compare the performance of low and high proficient bilinguals

Methods and Material: Participants were separated into two distinct groups. There were 22 native speakers in the first group, and 18 non-native speakers in the second. Participants' self-ratings on the LEAP Q were used to categorise them as either high or low competent bilinguals. Two tests were given to the participants, one testing cognitive ability and the other testing language sophistication. The first exercise had people identify the shapes of common objects without knowing their language names. In contrast, a conditioned naming task was given as the second exercise.

Statistical analysis used: Mann Whitney U test was used to compare the performance of the two groups

Results: Statistically significant difference between the two groups was found on task 2 (task that tapped linguistic control) only.

Conclusions: Theoretically, it is assumed that bilinguals with high proficiency will have more command of both languages than those with lower proficiency. However, the current research stressed that the advantage was limited to the domain of linguistic control and not to cognitive control in general.

Key Messages: The current study made an effort to distinguish between linguistic and cognitive control by developing tasks (that placed greater cognitive or linguistic loads on participants) and the results highlighted the fact that linguistic control differed between low and high proficient bilinguals while cognitive control did not.




How to Cite

Shahab Ahmad Almaaytah, Saddm H.M. Issa, Ghassan Adnan Hasan, & Jassim Abdullah Al Herz. (2023). Language and Cognitive Control in low and high proficient Bilinguals . Migration Letters, 20(S7), 843–848.