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Bilingual Brains

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  • UserProfessor Brendan Weekes (University of Hong Kong, HKU)
  • ClockThursday 19 November 2020, 16:30-18:00
  • HouseOnline.

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Many studies have investigated the cognitive processes used to produce words in multilingual speakers. However, one criticism of this research is the emphasis on Indo-European languages. The question posed in this presentation is whether the cognitive processes that have been assumed in psycholinguistic models of language processing (naming, reading and spelling) also apply to multilingual speakers. This question is important because a majority of speakers around the world are multilingual and use very different writing systems. Indeed, even within a language e.g. Japanese and Korean – two or more scripts must be learned to become literate. The outcome of our research in Hong Kong with a truly multilingual population shows that script does matter in neuro-cognitive processing of written words with implications for models of the neurobiology of language. The results also have clinical implications for the diagnosis and treatment of aphasia, dyslexia and dysgraphia in multilingual speakers.


Professor Weekes is Foundation Chair in Communication Science at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Director of the Laboratory for Communication Science also at HKU . Professor Weekes is an internationally recognized expert in the field of language and cognitive processing in speakers who have communication disorders as well as the application of cognitive neuroscience methods to the diagnosis and treatment of language impairment. He is on the editorial boards of Aphasiology, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Languages, Language Science, and Psicologia reflecting his interests in communication disorders and experimental psychology in different languages. He has also served on expert panels for the Australian Research Council, British Academy, BBSRC , the Economic and Social Research Council, MultiLing at the University of Oslo, Research Grants Council Hong Kong, Royal Society, UK Medical Research Council and the National Science Foundation, USA . He is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and currently a Visitor in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge and was Ambassador for UNESCO (2019).

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society (LingSoc) series.

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