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Early Child Res Q. 2014;29(4):699-714.

The Cognitive Development of Young Dual Language Learners: A Critical Review.

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York University, 4700 Keele Street, Behavioral Science Building, room 101, Toronto, M3J 1P3, Canada ;
York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, M3J 1P3, Canada
Arizona State University, Arizona State University, PO Box 871811, Farmer 342D, Tempe, AZ 85287-1811, USA
Duke University, Duke Centre for Child and Family Policy, Erwin Square Mill Building, Bay C, Room 226, Duke Box 90539 Durham, NC 27708-0539, USA


Dual language exposure and bilingualism are relatively common experiences for children. The present review set out to synthesize the existing research on cognitive development in bilingual children and to identify the gaps and the methodological concerns present in the existing research. A search of major data bases for research conducted with typically-developing, preschool-age dual language learners between 2000-2013 yielded 102 peer-reviewed articles. The existing evidence points to areas of cognitive development in bilingual children where findings are robust or inconclusive, and reveals variables that influence performance. The present review also identifies areas for future research and methodological limitations.


bilingualism; children; cognitive development; dual language learner; review

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