The goal of the current study was to examine the relationship between oral language skills, measure through narratives, and reading development in African American and Caucasian children. In particular, we were interested in determining whether differences were evident in the use of decontentxtualized language, specifically LLFs, in AA and Caucasian children from the same classroom. The study also explored relations amongst children’s use of LLFs and their scores on a standardized vocabulary measure and reading assessment. The findings revealed that, as predicted, differences were evident between AA and Caucasian children’s use of LLFs in their narratives, consistent with previous research documenting cultural differences in oral narrative traditions.
Although converging evidence suggests that bilinguals may be bicultural, questions remain about the mechanisms underlying the relationship between language, culture, and cognition. Some research shows that bilinguals possess dual cognitive frameworks, whereas others underscore the importance of the socio-cultural environment in which bilingualism emerges. By adapting a traditional switching paradigm, we explored differences within individuals in cultural processing and memory as a function of language. We examined the narratives of two groups of Indian bilinguals, Tamil bilinguals and Hindi bilinguals. Results revealed that language impacts code-switching, memory, and narrative differentially for Hindi and Tamil bilinguals. In terms of memory, Tamil bilinguals were more accurate in their recall than Hindi bilinguals. Furthermore, Hindi and Tamil bilinguals displayed evaluations differentially in their storytelling as means to convey their own perspectives. Hindi bilinguals used more intensifiers in Hindi than in English. Tamil bilinguals, however, provided moral evaluations only in their Tamil narratives. Thus, through our examination of a less studied bilingual population, we were able to demonstrate that bilinguals are bicultural and both dual cognitive frameworks and the socio-cultural practices influence bilingual language use and cognition.