Is bilingualism losing its advantage? A bibliometric approach

This study explores the publication trends in relation to the well-known advantage of bilingualism in the last 10 years. The bilingual advantage refers to the results where it is found that bilingual people have better abilities than monolingual people. Thus, with the use of different bibliometric indexes, it was seen that, until 2013, the works that supported the existence of a bilingual advantage increased rapidly. Since that year, the trends changed and, while the articles that supported the bilingual advantage maintained their growth, those that questioned it also began to grow very rapidly until they were more numerous between 2014 and 2016. This has meant that, by 2016, if only the articles published after 2014 were taken into account, there are more citations of the works that don’t support a bilingual advantage compared to those that support it.

Thus, it seems that studies have tended to overestimate for a few years the positive effects of bilingualism, although, currently, it is more appropriate to speak of the fact that there may be some advantages of bilingualism in some capacities, but also that there are similar abilities between bilinguals and monolinguals, in addition to talking about abilities that have disadvantages in bilinguals.

Reference: Sanchez-Azanza VA, López-Penadés R, Buil-Legaz L, Aguilar-Mediavilla E, Adrover-Roig D. (2017). Is bilingualism losing its advantage? A bibliometric approach. PLoS One, 20;12(4):e0176151. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176151.