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Entre jeunes barbes et vieux de la vieille. Usages du répertoire plurilingue dans une tâche d'intercompréhension à travers les âges

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Berthele Raphael, Vanhove Jan,
Project Mehrsprachigkeit und Lebensalter
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal VALS/ASLA Review
Volume (Issue) 99
Page(s) 31 - 50
Title of proceedings VALS/ASLA Review


In this article, we discuss a receptive multilingualism task administered to German-speaking Swiss participants aged between 10 and 86 years. 159 participants were presented with 90 isolated Swedish words with German, English or French cognates and were asked to translate them into German. Half of stimuli were presented visually; half of them aurally. Translation accuracy in the written modality was found to improve sharply until age 30 and continues to gradually increase from that point onwards, whereas in the spoken modality, translation accuracy reaches its zenith in middle age and starts to drop off around age 50. The results furthermore indicate that these differing age patterns can be ascribed to a differential reliance on cognitive resources in the two modalities. We discuss the impact of these cognitive resources on receptive multilingualism as well as the implications of our findings for pedagogical approaches relying on this type of interlingual inferencing.