Contributions of Multilingualism and Bilingual Education to Applied Linguistics Research

by John Wayne dela Cruz

Plurilingual Lab and Concordia University’s Department of Education hosted Dr. Michal B. Paradowski’s talk on Multilingualism and Bilingual Education last October 25. The free event gathered a roomful attendance by department professors and students in the Applied Linguistics (MA, PhD) and the TESL (BEd) programs, friends and family. Using a survey of past and current research in applied linguistics and second language acquisition, Dr. Paradowski focused on elucidating the truths about some of the popular myths surrounding bi and multilinguals.

While much research debunking these myths have been around for many years, certain myths still persist, especially in language education. Some of the main take-aways from the talk include:

  • MYTH 1: Multilingual acquisition must start from childhood/bilingualism in children means true adult bilingualism.

TRUTH: Later age onset is not an excluding factor; 1 in 4 adult bilinguals retain productive proficiency in only one of their languages.

  • MYTH 2: Bilingualism means equal native-like command on both languages.

TRUTH: Functional plurilingualism – unbalanced proficiency between languages is normal and expected, and is highly context dependent.

  • MYTH 3: Childhood bilingualism is detrimental to linguistic/cognitive development and performance.

TRUTH: Bi/multilinguals outperform monolinguals in a number of cognitive and non-linguistic tasks. Although it is true that bi/multilingual children can be a bit behind in certain lab-based linguistic tasks (by the milliseconds!), this lag is not noticeable in daily production, they eventually catch up to and even acquire larger linguistic repertoires than monolinguals.

  • MYTH 4: Childhood bilingualism can lead to language deficit impairment.

TRUTH: As previously stated, this is false. Further, on the topic of disorders, bi/multilingualism have been strongly correlated to delays in dementia onset by 4-4.5 years, and to lower risks of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Plurilingual Lab’s members thank Dr. Padowski for coming and giving this talk.

To our followers, we hope to see you in our next event!

Plurilingual Lab at the Second Language Research Forum

Dr. Angelica Galante will deliver a talk at the Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) titled Cognitive and emotional engagement through translanguaging: A quasi-experimental study investigating L2 vocabulary development among multilingual students in Canada on October 27 (Saturday).

This year, SLRF is being held at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), in Montreal from October 26 – October 28.

More information about this and other presentations from faculty and graduate students from Concordia can be found on the SLRF website.

Decolonizing and Indigenizing Applied Linguistics

One of Concordia University’ future directions is to decolonize and indigenize academia. This initiative comes in response to calls for action suggested by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015).

Members of our lab have been attending workshops with Dr. Donna Goodleaf, a member of the Kanien’kehá:ka nation, in the city of Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal.  Among many suggestions, Dr. Goodleaf urged us to include Indigenous knowledges in our curriculum, which can be easily done by revisiting our course reading lists.

In collaboration with many colleagues, we started to compile a number of scholarly articles, books, and chapters written by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people conducting research on Indigenous languages/cultures/pedagogy. This list is available for download here. If you’d like to help us add more sources, send them in APA format to or enter them in the comments below.

We count on you to help us decolonize Applied Linguistics!


Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). Truth and reconciliation commission of Canada: Calls to action. Retrieved from

Welcome to Plurilingual Lab!

This is a website aimed at disseminating knowledge from research conducted in our Lab.

We are based at Concordia University’s Faculty of Education, in the Applied Linguistics program. Our focus is on language pedagogy using a plurilingual approach to teach and learn languages. We are interested in valuing people’s linguistic and cultural repertoires while promoting new language and cultural learning. Whether it is French, English, German, Ojibwe, or Arabic, our focus is to help people learn the target language while validating individual and societal linguistic and cultural diversity.

We are lucky to be based in Montreal, a vibrant multilingual and multicultural city which offers several opportunities to do our research. Our interest goes beyond to include other Canadian provinces and other countries.

While we’re setting up our Lab, we will keep you posted of our research agenda and developments.

Gracias! À bientôt! Stay tuned!