“The ability to communicate is a ubiquitous experience for humans, from childhood to older age. Communication is central to health and wellbeing, and essential to form social networks, obtain social support, and reduce social isolation in both the general population and older adults . Converging findings suggest that bilingualism, even when developed later in life, results in greater rapid language-independent neuro-cognitive changes . These changes likely contribute to individuals’ “cognitive reserve”, an index of brain “fitness” that protects against the rate of decline associated with normal and pathological aging ,. Crucially, recent research has also pointed to the role of bilingualism as a factor that increases personal social networks , suggesting that bilingualism enhances the diversity and richness of people’s social interactions. To date however, the research on how bilingualism shapes our social networks is minimal. The goal of this project is to create a first version of a mini-social network questionnaire that will be fully deliverable online via Qualtrics. This social network tool will be deployed to a large number of speakers, both monolinguals and bilinguals. It is hypothesized that this new tool will help researchers understand how speaking more than one language can shape our social networks.
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