Publication Abstract Display
Type: Published Abstract
Title: Effects of Marathi-Hindi bilingualism on neuropsychological performance.
Authors: Kamat R, Ghate M, Gollan TH, Meyer R, Vaida F, Heaton RK, Letendre S, Franklin D, Alexander T, Grant I, Mehendale S, Marcotte, TD
Year: 2011
Publication: International Neuropsychological Society 39th Annual Meeting, Boston, Mass
Volume: Issue: Pages:
Abstract:Objective: In studies of disparate languages, bilingualism is associated with lower verbal fluency and enhanced executive functioning. We hypothesized that this relationship would be affected by cognate frequency as well as phonological and orthographic similarity, and would be associated with enhanced fluency for nouns, but lexical and structural differences in verbs would impart a bilingual disadvantage. Participants and Methods: Participants were 88 male and 86 female HIV seronegative, native Marathi speakers from Pune, India (mean age = 33.2 [SD=7.8]), mean education=9.2 [SD=4.1]). Participants completed tests of executive functioning (Color trails test (CTT), Stroop, Halstead Category test (HCT)) and verbal fluency (COWAT, Animal, Action fluency) in Marathi. A bilingualism index score (BIS) was calculated as the ratio of self-reported proficiency in Hindi to that in Marathi (M=.63, SD=.28). BIS was entered into a model to predict NP performance, after adjusting for demographic variables. Results: In the executive functioning domain, BIS significantly predicted better CTT (p<.001), with the effect on Stroop interference scores approaching significance (p=.07). BIS did not independently predict HCT performance (p =.47). On the three verbal fluency tests, BIS predicted better letter fluency (p=.02), approached significance for animal fluency (p=.08), but not action fluency (p=.92). Conclusion: The effect of bilingualism, as measured by self-rated proficiency, is impacted by the languages under study. An advantage is observed for tasks involving inhibition and switching, but not abstraction. For verbal measures, a bilingual advantage is noted on tests that elicit nouns, but not verbs, perhaps due to greater dissimilarity between Marathi and Hindi verbs.

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