Article

Juggling two languages in one mind. What bilinguals tell us about language processing and its consequences for cognition

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Abstract

Psycholinguistics has traditionally focused on language processing in monolingual speakers. In the past two decades, there has been a dramatic increase of research on bilingual speakers, recognizing that bilingualism is not an unusual or problematic circumstance but one that characterizes more language speakers in the world than monolingualism. Most critically, cognitive scientists and neuroscientists have come to see that understanding the way that bilinguals negotiate the presence of two languages in the mind and brain may reveal processes that are otherwise obscured in monolingual speakers. In this chapter, we review the new research on language processing in bilinguals. Our starting point is the observation that both languages are active when bilinguals intend to use one language alone. The parallel activation of the two languages creates competition across the two languages, which renders the bilingual a mental juggler. Surprisingly, the resolution of cross-language competition imposes relatively few processing costs to bilinguals because they appear to develop a high level of cognitive control that permits them to switch between the two languages and, at the same time, effectively select the intended language with few errors. The expertise that bilinguals develop in juggling the two languages has consequences for language processing, because both the native and second languages change as bilingual skill is acquired, and also for domain general cognitive processes, with the result that executive function is enhanced in bilinguals relative to monolinguals. We suggest that recent research on language and cognitive processing in bilinguals requires important revisions to models of language processing based on monolingual speakers alone. In this way, bilingualism is not only an interesting phenomenon in its own right, but an important tool for cognitive and language scientists.

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... During the process of SWS, listeners may exploit cognitive control to revise their miscomprehension of sentences (Novick et al., 2005), which would be caused by the activation of multiple and conflicting candidate representations (Weiss et al., 2009). Therefore, the demand for recurrent conflict monitoring and resolution in bilingual language processing is considered the likely source of bilinguals' cognitive advantage (e.g., Bialystok and Shapero, 2005;Kroll et al., 2012). These cognitive advantages of bilinguals may reflect increased cognitive flexibility (Teubner-Rhodes et al., 2016). ...
... The current study further extended the research by examining the interaction of cognitive inhibition and cognitive flexibility in the relationship between SWS and L2 listening proficiency. Studies have previously found that the demands of resolving and processing linguistic competitions for L2 learners are the likely source of bilinguals' cognitive advantages over monolinguals (e.g., Bialystok, 2005;Kroll et al., 2012). In addition, such an increased cognitive control mechanism was positively related to L2 listening comprehension (e.g., Kim and Phillips, 2014). ...
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Second language (L2) listening is a common challenge for language learners. It remains largely unknown how bilinguals process L2 listening. The literature has suggested an interactive model of L2 listening processing. However, few studies have examined the model from an experimental approach. The current study tried to provide empirical evidence for the interactive model of L2 listening processing in bilinguals by exploring the relationships among English spoken word segmentation (SWS), cognitive inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and L2 listening proficiency. The results showed positive associations among SWS, cognitive inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and L2 listening proficiency. Mediation analysis suggested that SWS might have a positive influence on L2 listening proficiency both directly and indirectly through cognitive inhibition and cognitive flexibility, respectively. These results imply that both bottom-up (reflected at SWS) and top-down (reflected at cognitive inhibition and flexibility) processes are engaged in bilinguals’ L2 listening processing.
... In fact, the key point of L1 attrition research is that not only the L1 influences the L2 but the L2 also affects the L1. A different terminological choice must not create barriers between overlapping research fieldsthis dynamic interaction of two languages has long been regarded as one of the most defining features of bilingualism (Kroll et al., 2012(Kroll et al., , 2015. Crosslinguistic interplay (L2 L1), something that monolinguals obviously lack, is arguably the greatest influence behind the distinctive organization and functioning of the bilingual mind and brain (Hernandez et al., 2005(Hernandez et al., , 2019aHernandez, 2013;Li et al., 2014;Bialystok, 2017;Hayakawa and Marian, 2019). ...
... Crosslinguistic interplay (L2 L1), something that monolinguals obviously lack, is arguably the greatest influence behind the distinctive organization and functioning of the bilingual mind and brain (Hernandez et al., 2005(Hernandez et al., , 2019aHernandez, 2013;Li et al., 2014;Bialystok, 2017;Hayakawa and Marian, 2019). In fact, there is currently a substantial amount of empirical evidence demonstrating the specific ways in which L1 and L2 of the bilinguals are affected by one another (Kroll et al., 2012;Coderre, 2015). While the effect of a dominant L1 on a later acquired, relatively less proficient L2 might be expected and considered natural, there is also substantial evidence for an effect of the L2 on the L1. ...
Article
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The use of language as a universal tool for communication and interaction is the backbone of human society. General sociocultural milieu and specific contextual factors can strongly influence various aspects of linguistic experience, including language acquisition and use and the respective internal neurolinguistic processes. This is particularly relevant in the case of bilingualism, which encompasses a diverse set of linguistic experiences, greatly influenced by societal, cultural, educational, and personal factors. In this perspective piece, we focus on a specific type of linguistic experience: non-pathological first-language (L1) attrition—a phenomenon that is strongly tied to immersion in non-L1 environments. We present our view on what may be the essence of L1 attrition and suggest ways of examining it as a type of bilingual experience, in particular with relation to its neurocognitive bases.
... An alternative possibility is that L2 influences representations of L1 grammar in long-term memory. Although bilingual speakers use L1 less when immersed in an L2 environment, both languages may be simultaneously activated in the bilingual mind during the use of either (Kroll, Bobb, & Hoshino, 2014;Kroll, Dussias, Bogulski & Valdes Kroff, 2012). Thus, L1 representations may be active during L2 use. ...
... Speeded grammaticality judgments allow less time for competition between L1 and L2 to resolve (Kroll et al., 2012(Kroll et al., , 2014. Additionally, they minimize or eliminate explicit deliberation about a sentence (Jiang, 2007) and reanalysis of syntactic parsing (Hopp, 2010). ...
Article
Does second-language (L2) syntactic influence on first-language (L1) reflect long-term changes to L1 syntax or occur only as a result of retrieval difficulties during time-constrained tasks? To evaluate L2 influence on L1 representation of animacy constraints (an element at the syntax–semantics interface) and word order (narrow syntax), we asked Korean–English bilingual speakers to judge sentences for grammaticality under both speeded and unspeeded conditions (Study 1) and to choose the more acceptable sentence of pairs that contained one grammatical and one ungrammatical sentence (Study 2). We found evidence for L2 influence on L1 animacy constraints in all cases and potential L2 influence on L1 word order in Study 1. These results indicate that L2 influence on L1 syntax can be observed even in conditions that reduce retrieval difficulty, implicating changes to underlying L1 representations. They also support the notion of greater susceptibility to change at the syntax–semantics interface.
... That is, they cannot simply "shut off" one language and effectively function like monolinguals. To prevent words from the nontarget language being mistakenly retrieved, during either production or comprehension, bilinguals need mechanisms to restrict their language use to the target language and minimize cross-language interference (Declerck and Philipp, 2015;Kroll et al., 2012). ...
... Since the proposal of the IC model, bilingualism has been linked to domain-general cognitive functions. It was put forward that continual practice with language control generalizes to nonlinguistic cognitive domains, leading to bilingual advantages in aspects of domain-general cognitive functioning (Abutalebi and Green, 2007;Bialystok et al., 2009;Green, 1998;Kroll et al., 2012). A large amount of researchwith various bilingual populations, across the lifespan, and assessing various domain-general cognitive taskshave found bilingual advantages in aspects of executive functions compared to monolinguals, particularly in inhibitory control and task switching (see Antoniou and Wright, 2017;Bialystok, 2017;Bialystok et al., 2009;Kroll and Dussias, 2018, for reviews). ...
Article
A large body of research has indicated that bilingualism may impact cognitive functions, as well as relevant aspects of brain function and structure, through continual practice in language control. The present review aimed to bring together relevant findings on the relationship between bilingualism and domain-general cognitive functions from a neural perspective. The final sample included 210 studies, covering findings regarding neural responses to bilingual language control and/or domain-general cognitive tasks, as well as regarding effects of bilingualism on non-task-related brain function and brain structure. The evidence indicates that a) bilingual language control likely entails neural mechanisms responsible for domain-general cognitive functions; b) bilingual experiences impact neural responses to domain-general cognitive functions; and c) bilingual experiences impact non-task-related brain function (both resting-state and metabolic function) as well as aspects of brain structure (both macrostructure and microstructure), each of which may in turn impact mental processes, including domain-general cognitive functions. Such functional and structural neuroplasticity associated with bilingualism may contribute to both cognitive and neural reserves, producing benefits across the lifespan.
... There is substantial evidence that both languages are active to some extent in bilingual language processing (e.g. Costa and Santesteban 2004;Francis 1999;Grainger 1993;Hermans et al. 1998;Jared and Kroll 2001;Kroll et al. 2012;Marian and Spivey 2003;van Hell and Dijkstra 2002). Thus, during language production, bilingual individuals are required to monitor the linguistic context in order to select the appropriated language while preventing the intrusion of the non-target language that could generate interference. ...
... With regard to the continuous condition of bilingualism, Grosjean (1998Grosjean ( , 2001 proposed and developed a notion of language mode that refers to the state of activation of the bilingual's languages and language processing mechanisms at a given point in time. It is well established that both languages are active, to some extent, in bilingual language processing (Costa and Santesteban 2004;Francis 1999;Grainger 1993;Hermans et al. 1998;Jared and Kroll 2001;Kroll et al. 2012;Marian and Spivey 2003;van Hell and Dijkstra 2002). Nevertheless, due to the influence of the environment, bilinguals continuously and naturally find themselves on a continuum of language activation, ranging from a monolingual to a bilingual mode. ...
Article
Due to their experience of managing two languages, it has been suggested that bilinguals could receive more practice in the domain of working memory (WM) leading to a WM bilingual advantage. Although some studies have shown that bilinguals can outperform monolinguals in WM tasks, the studies investigating WM capacity in bilinguals provide inconsistent findings regarding the existence of a bilingual advantage. We therefore conducted a meta-analysis on the association between bilingualism and WM capacity. Data from 116 studies (involving 177 pairs of participants and 444 effect sizes) were extracted. Based on previous findings, we examined age, characteristics of the WM tasks –i.e. complexity (simple span vs transformation vs complex span tasks) and domain (verbal vs nonverbal) – age of first exposure to L2, and L2 proficiency as potential moderating variables. Results indicated a small bilingual advantage in WM (g = .12, p =.054), which was moderated by the language used in the verbal WM task. The bilingual advantage was stronger when the verbal WM task was performed in L2 compared to L1. Thus, the bilingual experience is associated with slightly higher WM capacity. Nevertheless, future studies would benefit from greater consideration of individual differences within groups of bilingual individuals.
... (Grosjean, 2010;Navracsics, 2007). A kétnyelvűek döntő többségének nyelvtudása a két nyelven nem kiegyenlített (balansz), általában valamelyik nyelvük domináns (Kroll et al, 2012) és ez a dominancia az életük során változhat, attól függően, hogy milyen nyelvi környezetben élnek, milyen a nyelvekhez fűződő attitűdjük vagy melyik nyelvet használják gyakrabban. Mindenesetre az elmondható, hogy a két nyelv rendszeres használatának ered-ményeképp egyik nyelvük sem stabil, mivel a nyelvek hatnak egymásra, így mind az első nyelvben (L1), mind pedig a második nyelvben (L2) változások tapasztalhatók. ...
... Ez azzal magyarázható, hogy R1 sokkal gyakrabban használja a magyart, tehát a szókincsét nem befolyásolja olyan mértékben egy másik nyelv jelenléte, mint R2-nél. A kétnyelvűekre általában igaz, hogy kisebb a szókincsük az egyes nyelvekben, mint az egynyelvűeknek (Kroll et al, 2012), amire természetesen hatással van a második nyelvben meg-lévő nyelvtudás szintje is. A verbális fluencia teszt esetében R2 jobb teljesítmé-nye ugyancsak azzal magyarázható, hogy ő a mindennapjai során a hollandot és a magyart is használja az életének a különböző színterein (család, barátok, munka), így a kétnyelvűekre jellemző gátló mechanizmust gyakran kell alkalmaznia, azaz, hogy az adott szituációban nem használt nyelv szavainak aktivációját gátolja. ...
... The primary role of cognition in bilingual language use follows from the counterintuitive but well-established finding that both languages are active in all contexts (Kroll, Dussias, Bice, & Perrotti, 2015;Kroll, Dussias, Bogulski, & Valdes-Kroff, 2012). Because of this joint activation it would be expected that there are frequent intrusions of the unwanted language, yet such intrusions are rare. ...
... Previous studies seeking explanations for bilingual effects on cognition through standard executive function tasks based on the componential framework of Miyake et al. (2000) have failed to find consistent outcomes that could provide such an explanation. The current approach, therefore, was to focus on a set of processes in which bilinguals are known to engage, namely language selection from jointly-activated alternatives (Kroll et al., 2012), motivated by a framework identifying selective attention as the relevant process (Bialystok, 2017), and instantiate those predictions in a task that could be adapted to verbal and nonverbal contexts. Results were analyzed using four methods including univariate and multivariate approaches applied to behavioral and electrophysiological outcomes. ...
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Monolingual and bilingual participants performed a Proactive Interference task in verbal and nonverbal conditions while EEG was recorded. Behavioral results showed faster responses for bilinguals on interference trials in the nonverbal condition, and electrophysiological results indicated greater attentional control for bilinguals. ROI analyses showed this pattern for bilinguals mainly in the verbal condition, whereas whole brain analyses found this association in both conditions. Frequency power analysis found activity related to interference trials was associated with recruitment of different neural resources for verbal and nonverbal conditions. Nonverbal results indicated beta activity for interference trials in bilinguals and the verbal condition showed this pattern in theta and gamma frequency bands as well, revealing more extensive brain activation in the verbal domain for bi-linguals. For monolinguals, frequency power in beta, gamma, and theta were related to facilitation trials. These results suggest different strategies for allocating attention by monolingual and bilingual young adults.
... A modified S. Jurard questionnaire was used to measure the dynamics of self-disclosure indicators. Research in in experimental psycholinguistics is diverse [13,14,16,17,19,20,21,24,25,26]. Some foreign researchers only indirectly touch upon the problems of this article. ...
... The connection of language abilities, cognitive processing and comprehension is noted [20][21][22]. ...
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... Having more than one linguistic system in a single mind and, thus, managing the mental juggling of bilingualism-e.g., tension between activation, selection, and inhibition at many levels (e.g., Kroll et al., 2012)-requires some level of increased engagement of language control and domain-general executive functions (EFs). Although having knowledge of more than one language is a defining characteristic of bilingualism, it is dynamic. ...
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This study uses resting state EEG data from 103 bilinguals to understand how determinants of bilingualism may reshape the mind/brain. Participants completed the LSBQ, which quantifies language use and crucially the division of labor of dual-language use in diverse activities and settings over the lifespan. We hypothesized correlations between the degree of active bilingualism with power of neural oscillations in specific frequency bands. Moreover, we anticipated levels of mean coherence (connectivity between brain regions) to vary by degree of bilingual language experience. Results demonstrated effects of Age of L2/2L1 onset on high beta and gamma powers. Higher usage of the non-societal language at home and society modulated indices of functional connectivity in theta, alpha and gamma frequencies. Results add to the emerging literature on the neuromodulatory effects of bilingualism for rs-EEG, and are in line with claims that bilingualism effects are modulated by degree of engagement with dual-language experiential factors.
... currently needed (Bialystok and Viswanathan 2009;Kroll et al. 2012;Poarch 2018;Poarch and van Hell 2012), but also for cognitive resources and abilities required in task switching (Bialystok and Martin 2004;Wisehart, Viswanathan, and Bialystok 2016) and for resources and regulations of working memory (Grundy and Timmer 2017). ...
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The cognitive advantage (CA) hypothesis claims that multilingualism promotes the development of several basic cognitive capacities. A large number of empirical findings support this hypothesis, but recently there have also been numerous contradictory findings and methodological objections. The present paper extends the investigation of possible cognitive advantages from basic cognitive (executive) functions to broader cognitive competencies such as cognitive flexibility. A promising candidate for this is ‘flexibility of goal adjustment’ (FGA), a capacity of developmental regulation that solves problems through flexible adaptation processes. In a study with N = 119 monolingual and multilingual adults we found the predicted positive correlation between multilingualism and FGA. However, the mediator function of executive capacities entailed in the CA hypothesis operationalised as Stroop and flanker tasks could not be demonstrated.
... Here and in Experiment 2, we report the participants' knowledge of English to provide a measure of the degree to which participants are bilingual. Although not the focus of this paper, knowledge of a second language can affect language processing in the dominant language (Kroll et al., 2012). 8. ...
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Spoken language research has investigated how pronouns are influenced by grammar and semantics/pragmatics. In contrast, sign language research has focused on unambiguous pronominal reference arising from spatial co-reference. However, understanding signed pronouns contributes to cross-linguistically valid models of pronoun production and comprehension. In two sentence-continuation experiments, the present study investigated how linguistic use of space (modality-specific), antecedent grammatical role and verb implicit causality bias (modality-independent) affect American Sign Language (ASL) pronouns. Production of pronouns was determined by antecedent grammatical role, and overt pronouns were marginally more frequent for referents articulated in specific areas of signing space compared to neutral space. Signers interpreted pronouns using spatial information and, notably, verb bias, despite spatial co-reference supposedly removing the ambiguity that verb bias resolves. These findings demonstrate that ASL pronouns are subject to modality-independent factors, despite their use of space, and lend support to models of pronominal reference positing a production/comprehension asymmetry.
... This account suggests that learners manage multiple language systems from the outset. Indeed, in a review of this research, Kroll et al. (2012) refer to the ability to manage multiple languages as "mental juggling". Comparisons of L1 and L2 performance in the same speakers can provide support for claims that L1 and L2 knowledge representations coexist McManus, 2021;Timmer et al., 2019). ...
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Crosslinguistic Influence and Second Language Learning provides a comprehensive overview of what is currently known about prior language knowledge and experience in second language learning. Three bodies of research are critically reviewed to achieve this goal: (i) theories of language learning that attribute critical roles to prior experience in explaining second language development, (ii) empirical studies of second language learning that have investigated roles for crosslinguistic influence, and (iii) instructional studies that have supported second language learning by addressing the negative effects of crosslinguistic influence. Using this foundation, new research directions and theorization in the field of second language acquisition are proposed. This book will serve as an excellent resource for students and scholars with interests in (instructed) second language learning, applied linguistics, cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, and language education.
... ábra) úgy mutatkozik meg, hogy a kétnyelvű csoport eredményei diverzebbek, mint az egynyelvűeké. Az eredmények heterogenitása általában jellemzi a kétnyelvűeket (Kroll et al., 2012). ...
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Speech is one of humans’ favourite activities (Levelt, 1995); however, non-linguists rarely reflect upon the complex process of speech production. Levelt developed the first overarching model of speech production in 1989, and it has been confirmed by psycho-and neurolinguistic empirical research. According to the model, speech planning and production happen simultaneously, resulting in the specific features of spontaneous speech, i.e., disfluencies. Both monolinguals and bilinguals experience disfluencies and word-finding difficulties; however, processing two languages with the same production system is more complex and is affected by multiple factors. Word-retrieval difficulty is the most salient and earliest feature of language attrition, which can be manifested in the increase of disfluency markers (e.g., hesitations, filled pauses, repetitions) (Schmid & Beers Fägersten, 2010), increased number of tip- of-the-tongue states (Ecke, 2013), slower lexical retrieval and retrieval failures. Lexical diversity is usually analysed as an indicator of changes in the expressive vocabulary of an individual. As the number of studies looking at speech production fluency of attriters is relatively low, the goals of this study are: (1) to find out whether there is any difference in the spontaneous speech of Hungarians living in the Netherlands (thus bilinguals) and monolingual Hungarians residing in Hungary; (2) to see whether speech fluency is related to lexical diversity; and (3) to what extent extralinguistic variables (age, length of residence, attitudes, language choice, and language contact) are related to speech fluency and lexical diversity. The Social Personal Background Questionnaire was used to explore the demographic background of the participants, the frequency of L1 use, and their attitudes towards the L1. Furthermore, story-telling and verbal fluency tasks were used to collect data for measuring fluency and lexical diversity. Generally, the results show no considerable signs of attrition in the bilingual group compared to the monolingual group. A significant difference between the target and the control groups could only be shown in the temporal measures; that is, speech production in the bilingual group is slower, and they produce more and longer pauses and more disfluencies (mainly repetition and restarts). Lexical diversity is positively related to the temporal measures of speech fluency. Frequency of language use positively correlates with speech rate, articulation rate, phonation time-ratio, and lexical diversity, while the length of residence negatively correlates with speech fluency and lexical diversity. Frequency of use and the length of residence are important factors in language attrition, while attitudes seem to have no effect. Keywords: fluency, bilingual, attrition, extralinguistic factors, speech production
... Unlike monolinguals, bilinguals are often required to negotiate cross-language activation when speaking (e.g. Martin & Nozari, 2021; for reviews, see Costa, 2005;Hanulová et al., 2011;Hartsuiker & Bernolet, 2017;Kroll et al., 2006Kroll et al., , 2012. Cross-language activation makes bilinguals susceptible to cross-language interference when planning speech (Abutalebi & Green, 2007). ...
Article
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What we say generally follows distributional regularities, such as learning to avoid "the asleep dog" because we hear "the dog that's asleep" in its place. However, not everyone follows such regularities. We report data on English monolinguals and Spanish-English bilinguals to examine how working memory mediates variation in a-adjective usage (asleep, afraid), which, unlike typical adjectives (sleepy, frightened), tend to resist attributive use. We replicate previous work documenting this tendency in a sentence production task. Critically, for all speakers, the tendency to use a-adjectives attributively or non-attributively was modulated by individual differences in working memory. But for bilinguals, a-adjective use was additionally modulated by an interaction between working memory and category fluency in the dominant language (English), revealing an interactive role of domain-general and language-related mechanisms that enable regulation of competing (i.e. attributive and non-attributive) alternatives. These results show how bilingualism reveals fundamental variation in language use, memory, and attention.
... One explanation for better performance on cognitive tasks is that bilingual children use domain-general processes that are part of the EF system (Luk et al., 2012) to manage the constant conflict between their two jointly activated languages (Kroll et al., 2012;Timmer et al., 2014;Wu, & Thierry, 2012) to select the target language, thereby modifying those attention and selection systems. Although earlier accounts attributed this benefit to practice in inhibition of the nontarget language (e.g., Bialystok & Senman, 2004;Martin-Rhee & Bialystok, 2008) as described in the Inhibitory Control Model by Green (1998), the predictions from an inhibition account are not supported by evidence with cognitive tasks (discussion in Bialystok 2015Bialystok , 2017. ...
Article
Bilingual children typically perform more poorly than monolingual children on linguistic tasks but better than monolingual children on cognitive tasks requiring executive function. The present study examined performance on complex linguistic tasks that also required executive functioning for their solution. One hundred 4-year-olds from linguistically diverse backgrounds (36 monolinguals, 64 bilinguals) performed two linguistic tasks in which misleading information needed to be ignored to select the correct answer. Data were analyzed both categorically by comparing the performance of children assigned to monolingual and bilingual groups and continuously in terms of degree of bilingual experience across the entire sample. In the categorical analyses, bilingual children were more accurate than monolingual children in understanding the meaning of spoken sentences in the presence of distraction in both tasks, and continuous analyses showed that performance was calibrated to degree of bilingualism in one of the tasks, with higher levels of bilingualism being associated with better performance. The interpretation is that attentional control built up through bilingual experience compensates for lower levels of language proficiency in performing these complex linguistic tasks. The study also endorses the use of continuous assessments of bilingualism rather than categorical assignment to groups to obtain more nuanced results.
... Recent studies show that bilinguals activate both languageseven if only one is overtly present (Kroll, Dussias, Bogulski, & Valdés Kroff, 2012). This has been observed for different combinations of languages and kinds of linguistic processing (Dijkstra & Van Heuven, 2002;Kroll, Bobb, & Wodniecka, 2006;Marian & Spivey, 2003). ...
Article
Bilinguals, both hearing and deaf, activate multiple languages simultaneously even in contexts that require only one language. To date, the point in development at which bilingual signers experience cross-language activation of a signed and a spoken language remains unknown. We investigated the processing of written words by ASL-English bilingual deaf middle school students. Deaf bilinguals were faster to respond to English word pairs with phonologically related translations in ASL than to English word pairs with unrelated translations, but no difference was found for hearing controls with no knowledge of ASL. The results indicate that co-activation of signs and written words is not the outcome of years of bilingual experience, but instead characterizes bilingual language development.
... One factor that impacts executive function is bilingualism, with better performance on tasks for bilinguals than monolinguals (see Bialystok, 2017, for a review). Previous research has shown that even when only a single language is required, bilinguals activate the lexicons from both of their languages in parallel (Kroll, Dussias, Bogulski, & Valdes Kroff, 2012). Given this joint activation, the bilingual language system must manage language selection by directing attention to the target language while ignoring interference from the competing language, presumably through the recruitment of general attention mechanisms (Bialystok, 2015). ...
Article
Aims and objectives/purpose/research questions: In early childhood and older adulthood, bilinguals generally demonstrate better performance on executive function tasks than their monolingual counterparts, but in the young adult population, these differences are infrequently observed. However, few studies have examined these effects in the adolescent population, so the trajectory of these changes is unclear. The objective of the study was to compare performance on a modified flanker task for monolingual and bilingual adolescents, a time when the executive functions are still developing. Design/methodology/approach: The flanker task was adapted by including a rule-switching component and contained three blocks: (1) rule; (2) flanker; and (3) mixed. In the rule block, a single red or blue arrow (indicated by light grey or medium grey in Figure 1) denoted a response rule; for example, a blue arrow signaled pressing the button indicating the direction the arrow was pointing but a red arrow signaled pressing the button indicating the opposite direction. The flanker block was a standard flanker task consisting of congruent and incongruent trials. The mixed block manipulated both congruency and rule conditions. Data and analysis: Mean reaction times and accuracy from 33 monolingual and 32 bilingual adolescents were analyzed using a repeated-measures analysis of variance with language group as the between-subjects variable and congruency and/or rule-type as the within-subjects variable depending on the block. Findings/conclusions: Bilingual adolescents outperformed monolingual adolescents but only on the block that was most similar to the standard flanker task. The blocks with the rule-switching component yielded equivalent performance. Originality: Unlike previous studies, the current study adapted a simple executive control task to require greater attentional resources by manipulating task demands. Significance/implications: Our findings add to the growing body of literature examining bilingualism and executive control in the adolescent population and fill in the gap in our understanding of the lifespan trajectory of these effects.
... First, if all languages remain active in the multilingual mind, they can be accessed without extra copies having to be made. As Westergaard (2019) notes, psycholinguistic evidence confirms that all languages in a multilingual brain are active by default during language processing and when one is used the others must be inhibited (Kroll et al., 2012). Schwartz and Sprouse (1996) may have understood Full Transfer as involving an initial, full copy of the L1; however, if the only other language in the mind is the L1, then we cannot tell whether transfer is based on a whole-copy-restructuring model, or whether transfer occurs at different times throughout the acquisition process. ...
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Westergaard (2019) presents an updated account of the Linguistic Proximity Model and the micro-cue approach to the parser as an acquisition device. The property-by-property view of transfer inherent in this approach contrasts with other influential models that assume that third language (L3) acquisition involves the creation of a full copy of only one previously existing language in the mind. In this commentary, I review Westergaard’s proposal that first language (L1), second language (L2), and L3 acquisition proceed on the basis of incremental, conservative learning and her view of the parser as the engine of the acquisition process. I then provide several arguments in support of her position that crosslinguistic influence in L n acquisition may flow from any previously acquired language.
... The effect of proficiency in the bilingual literature has been widely considered (e.g., Bonfieni was found to modulate language processing during comprehension and production (e.g., Kroll, Dussias, Bogulski, & Kroff, 2012). This is because although bilinguals activate both of their languages continuously regardless of their level of proficiency and automaticity of L2 (e.g., Blumenfeld & Marian, 2013;, parallel activation is modulated by the degree of proficiency in each language and particularly in the nondominant language (Blumenfeld & Marian, 2007;Titone, Libben, Mercier, Whitford, & Pivneva, 2011). ...
Article
We examined the impact of bilingualism as a construct of both language usage and language proficiency on the effectiveness of cognitive control. In particular, we asked whether the frequency of daily dense code-switching – frequent change of language within and between sentences with the same interlocutor- and the level of L2 proficiency separately and or interactively affect cognitive control efficiency in the Simon task. Results from 134 bilinguals showed that frequently code-switching bilinguals had fewer errors and their accuracy rate improved over trials leading to a smaller Simon effect. For response times (RTs), however, L2 proficiency modulated the Simon effect, and interacted with code-switching frequency in intricate ways in modulating overall RTs over trials. Crucially, highly proficient frequently code-switching bilinguals were better at conflict adaptation. These results show that bilinguals differ among themselves, and that researchers need to take both proficiency and language use into account to test the impact of bilingual experience on cognitive control. Bilingualism should be regarded as a continuum, with many different factors contributing to the language experience and affecting cognitive functioning.
... The main hypothesis for the bilingual advantage in children and infants is currently that, in bilinguals, both languages are simultaneously activated, leading to the necessity of a cognitive ability to suppress the language which is not actively being used (i.e., inhibitory control; Kroll et al., 2012). Consequently, bilingual children are credited with increased training with this inhibitory mechanism, leading to better performance on executive functioning tasks. ...
... Indeed, most research investigating transfer of skills across domains shows weak evidence for this possibility, indicating at best only near transfer across similar abilities (Shipstead et al., 2012;Simons et al., 2016). However, it is well-established that both languages are simultaneously active in bilingual minds, even in strongly monolingual contexts, creating ongoing potential conflict (Kroll et al., 2012). Since bilinguals rarely make intrusion errors (Gollan and Ferreira, 2009), some mechanism must be responsible for managing attention to the target language while excluding the unwanted language. ...
... In some studies, bilingualism has been linked to improved EFs (for reviews, see Bialystok, 2015;Hilchey & Klein, 2011). The argument put forward to explain this effect is that all languages are always active in a bilingual's mind and this requires constant language control to ensure speech production in the intended language (Green & Abutalebi, 2013;Kroll, Dussias, Bogulski, & Kroff, 2012). This increased demand on language control is said to train general EFs because both processes share certain cognitive processes (Calabria, Hernández, Branzi, & Costa, 2012) and neurological structures (De Baene, 2015;Kong, Abutalebi, Lam, & Weekes, 2014;Weissberger, Gollan, Bondi, Clark, & Wierenga, 2015). ...
Article
The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) is used to test higher-level executive functions or switching, depending on the measures chosen in a study and its goal. Many measures can be extracted from the WCST, but how to assign them to specific cognitive skills remains unclear. Thus, the current study first aimed at identifying which measures test the same cognitive abilities. Second, we compared the performance of mono-and multilingual children in the identified abilities because there is some evidence that bilingualism can improve executive functions. We tested 66 monolingual and 56 multilingual (i.e., bi-and trilingual) primary school children (M age = 109 months) in an online version of the classic WCST. A principal component analysis revealed four factors: problem-solving, monitoring, efficient errors, and perseverations. Because the assignment of measures to factors is only partially coherent across the literature , we identified this as one of the sources of task impurity. In the second part, we calculated regression analyses to test for group differences while controlling for intelligence as a predictor for executive functions and for confounding variables such as age, German lexicon size, and socioeconomic status. Intelligence predicted problem-solving and perseverations. In the monitoring component (measured by the reaction times preceding a rule switch), multilinguals outper-formed monolinguals, thereby supporting the view that bi-or multilingualism can improve processing speed related to monitoring.
... 6 Range = 6-8 letters. Excluded words: Polish-English translation equivalents, polysemous words, cognates, and interlanguage homonyms and homographs (see [46]). ...
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Positive and negative moods tend to have differential effects on lexico-semantic processing in the native language (L1). Though accumulating evidence points to dampened sensitivity to affective stimuli in the non-native language (L2), little is known about the effects of positive and negative moods on L2 processing. Here, we show that lexico-semantic processing is differently affected by positive and negative moods only in L1. Unbalanced Polish–English bilinguals made meaningfulness judgments on L1 and L2 sentences during two EEG recording sessions featuring either positive- or negative-mood-inducing films. We observed a reduced N1 (lexical processing) for negative compared to positive mood in L2 only, a reduced N2 (lexico-semantic processing) in negative compared to positive mood in L1 only, a reduced N400 (lexico-semantic processing) for meaningless compared to meaningful L1 sentences in positive mood only, and an enhanced late positive complex (semantic integration and re-analysis) for L2 compared to L1 meaningful sentence in negative mood only. Altogether, these results suggest that positive and negative moods affect lexical, lexico-semantic, and semantic processing differently in L1 and L2. Our observations are consistent with previous accounts of mood-dependent processing and emotion down-regulation observed in bilinguals.
... However, note that L1-L2 similarities and differences can have cross-script effects (i.e., they can influence learners' L2 even when the two languages use different script), which means, for example, that the facilitative effect of cognate status on L2 word use can occur even when the L1 and L2 use different scripts (Bowers et al., 2000;Bowers & Michita, 1998;Gollan et al., 1997;Hoshino & Kroll, 2008;N. Jiang, 1999;Kroll et al., 2012;Muljani et al., 1998 iii. Ordinal scale. ...
Thesis
Learners’ native language (L1) influences their knowledge and use of second language (L2) vocabulary, a phenomenon known as lexical transfer. Past research on this shows that learners’ L1 influences their L2 word choices, and that lexical similarity—which relates to cognancy—between L1 words and their L2 counterparts facilitates the processing of the L2 words, particularly during the early stages of L2 acquisition, and makes speakers more likely to use the L2 words in spontaneous productions. To extend past research, the present research investigates whether crosslinguistic similarity influences L2 vocabulary use in a task-based, English-as-a-foreign language educational setting. Specifically, it investigates whether increased similarity between languages as a whole increases L2 lexical diversity, and whether increased similarity between L1 words and their L2 counterparts increases the use of the L2 words. It investigates this using two matching learner samples, containing 8,500 and 6,390 English texts, written in response to 95 and 71 tasks, by speakers of 9 typologically diverse L1s, in the A1–B2 CEFR range of L2 proficiency. Surprisingly, lexical similarity between the L1 and the L2 as a whole did not influence L2 lexical diversity, regardless of learners’ L2 proficiency. Likewise, lexical similarity between corresponding L1-L2 words did not influence the use of the L2 words, again regardless of L2 proficiency. Conversely, there were strong task effects on both L2 lexical diversity and L2 word choice. These findings show that the facilitative effect of crosslinguistic lexical similarity (especially the cognate facilitation effect) is constrained, and suggest that communicative needs and other task effects can override positive lexical transfer. This highlights the role of situational factors in crosslinguistic influence, and raises questions regarding when and how these and similar factors can override language transfer, for example when it comes to different types of transfer (e.g., positive vs. negative, or lexical vs. syntactic). In addition, this research contains substantial insights into related topics, such as the developmental patterns of L2 lexical diversity, accounting for task effects in language assessment, measuring crosslinguistic distance, and using online platforms to develop language corpora.
... Although several branches of researchsuch as psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, structural approaches, and pragmatics, among othershave tried to explain and analyze the phenomenon in their own terms, they have all agreed on the complexity of CS performance, given the numerous factors involved in the configuration of this behavior (Bentahila & Davies, 1992;Auer, 1995;Bullock & Toribio, 2009;Gardner-Chloros, 2009a;Kroll, Dussias, Bogulski, & Valdes, 2012). ...
Thesis
The present study aimed at exploring the code-switching patterns of Chilean EFL learners that were part of an EFL Teaching program at Universidad Austral de Chile. Given that most studies in this area had been carried out in immersion contexts, and that the few exploring the phenomenon in EFL contexts only looked at the possible uses of code-switching as a teaching and learning tool, this study set out to analyze the natural CS patterns of Chilean bilinguals by looking at which were the linguistic and extra-linguistic factors triggering their CS behavior. The data was gathered through experimental Controlled Conversation Sessions (CCS’s) in both their L1 (Spanish) and L2 (English), applying also a Language Background and Code-Switching Questionnaire. The bilingual practice appeared to be an undeveloped skill in this particular context, given that, as most EFL teaching/learning environments, the ultimate goal was to be as ‘monolingual as possible’, fact that proved to influence students’ linguistic repertoires in an unexpected way. Therefore, it was argued that accepting and fostering the use of code-switching inside this EFL Teaching context would be highly beneficial for these teachers-to-be, since they will ultimately instruct others like them.
... However, it is not an indicator of the permanent loss of the item from the mental lexicon. Several explanations have been proposed to account for these shortcomings: (i) bilinguals have an overall more extensive vocabulary, which results in more competition between words when they attempt to select the target; (ii) as a result of more extensive vocabulary, word frequency will be lower than for a monolingual speaking one language only; (iii) bilinguals experience more interference from the other language which slows down language processing (Kroll et al., 2012). ...
Chapter
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Lexical retrieval has received considerable attention in bilingualism and attrition studies. It has been confirmed by a number of studies that bilinguals' lexical retrieval is slower than monolinguals' and that monolingual controls usually outperform attriters in verbal fluency tasks. However, it remains a question to what extent extralinguistic variables can explain this difference. The present study focuses on the first language attrition of Russians living in Hungary with special attention on verbal fluency. All participants (N = 17) have spent more than seven years in Hungary, and their age ranges from 22 to 72 years old. The study's main aim was to investigate the degree of extralinguistic variables, such as age, education, frequency of use, length of residence, interacting with L1 of individuals on lexical and verbal fluency levels. The Sociolinguistic and Personal Background Questionnaire (SPBQ) was used to gather data on the factors mentioned earlier, which focuses on four domains: personal background, language choice, language contact, and language attitude. Two versions of the VFT were used to measure lexical retreival: semantic verbal fluency with the category "animals" and the letter fluency task with the most frequent letter in the L1. Together, these results provide important insights into how attriters' speech production differs from monolinguals' and the main factors contributing to language attrition. The present study's findings match with previous studies that the immigrant group did significantly worse in comparison with the control group, however, our study failed to find an explanation of which variables influence the poorer performance.
... Based on this, the question asked by Kroll et al. (2012) is legitimate: "why assume that evolution selected monolingualism as the norm? There are far too many bilingual and multilingual speakers in the world to believe that multiple language use is an aberration" (230). ...
Article
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With the growth of bi-and multilingualism in the world, linguistic minorities and their language maintenance are receiving an increased attention from researchers in the field of sociolinguistics and language policy. However, few attempts were made by countries to ensure the linguistic rights of these minority communities, especially in countries where traditionally assimilationist policies have been practiced for centuries, e.g., France and the USA. The purpose of this study was to find out to what extent Algerians in the aforementioned countries maintain their first language (L1) and what their attitudes are to their mother tongue. The Social Personal Background Questionnaire was used to collect data from 8 participants in each country, and the results suggest that regardless of the speakers' positive attitude towards their L1, they often use their L2, which could lead to a gradual language shift. This process seems to be more pronounced in France where the 'one country-one lan-guage' ideology has been the standard since the 17 th century.
... Importantly, the results also suggest that some of these effects may only be detected by using more sensitive measures, such as pupil dilation. The paper discusses theoretical and practical implications regarding the language INTRODUCTION It has been theorized that the life experience of using more than one language contributes to enhanced domain-general executive control in bilinguals, 1 as they are constantly required to regulate the simultaneous activation of multiple languages in one mind (Kroll et al., 2012). However, defining "bilingualism" is perhaps an impossible feat (Surrain and Luk, 2019). ...
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Introduction It has been proposed that bilinguals’ language use patterns are differentially associated with executive control. To further examine this, the present study relates the social diversity of bilingual language use to performance on a color-shape switching task (CSST) in a group of bilingual university students with diverse linguistic backgrounds. Crucially, this study used language entropy as a measure of bilinguals’ language use patterns. This continuous measure reflects a spectrum of language use in a variety of social contexts, ranging from compartmentalized use to fully integrated use. Methods Language entropy for university and non-university contexts was calculated from questionnaire data on language use. Reaction times (RTs) were measured to calculate global RT and switching and mixing costs on the CSST, representing conflict monitoring, mental set shifting, and goal maintenance, respectively. In addition, this study innovatively recorded a potentially more sensitive measure of set shifting abilities, namely, pupil size during task performance. Results Higher university entropy was related to slower global RT. Neither university entropy nor non-university entropy were associated with switching costs as manifested in RTs. However, bilinguals with more compartmentalized language use in non-university contexts showed a larger difference in pupil dilation for switch trials in comparison with non-switch trials. Mixing costs in RTs were reduced for bilinguals with higher diversity of language use in non-university contexts. No such effects were found for university entropy. Discussion These results point to the social diversity of bilinguals’ language use as being associated with executive control, but the direction of the effects may depend on social context (university vs. non-university). Importantly, the results also suggest that some of these effects may only be detected by using more sensitive measures, such as pupil dilation. The paper discusses theoretical and practical implications regarding the language entropy measure and the cognitive effects of bilingual experiences more generally, as well as how methodological choices can advance our understanding of these effects.
... In particular, they learn to predict the sequential structure of linguistic signals, based on the statistics of previously-encountered input. (p. 1) Studies such as Gennari and MacDonald (2009) and MacDonald and Thornton (2009) exemplify this approach for monolinguals, under the rubric of the Production-Distribution-Comprehension (PDC) account, while Meisel (1994), Kroll et al. (2012), Guzzardo Tamargo (2012), Guzzardo Tamargo et al. (2016), and Valdés Kroff (2012, among others, find support for usage-based modeling in the emergence of bilingual code-switching knowledge. ...
Article
This study examines sensitivity to putative grammatical constraints on intra-sentential code-switching, viewed as a relative measure of attainment in heritage bilingual grammars. This is exemplified by a series of interactive tasks carried out with heritage Portuguese speakers in Misiones Province, Argentina. The results demonstrate the viability of deploying a range of experimental techniques in field settings with heritage speakers who do not engage in habitual code switching.
... For example, many researchers agree that there is automatic activation of both languages of a bilingual participant, even when this is not required by the tasks (e.g. Kroll et al., 2012). This may lead to bilingual participants suffering from competition between the phonological forms for each language relating to a particular concept (e.g. between chat (French) and cat (English) as potential labels for a picture of a CAT), influencing processing speed and/or accuracy (e.g. ...
... Previous studies have shown that bilinguals' two languages are simultaneously active during language use (see Kroll et al., 2012). This means that bilinguals need a mechanism to control the potential interference of the non-target language while using the target language, i.e., language control (LC). ...
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Aims and objectives This study assessed bilinguals’ language control (LC) and inhibitory control (IC) performance (switch costs and Stroop effects) simultaneously in the same participants to investigate how these processes influence each other. Design Seventy-four Turkish-English bilinguals were presented with Turkish (L1) or English (L2) color words printed either in congruent or incongruent ink color and instructed to name the ink color of these words in the presentation language. Stimuli’s language and congruency were either the same as in the previous trial or different. Data and analysis Reaction times (RTs), switch costs (mean RTs on language repetition subtracted from switch trials), and the Stroop effects (mean RTs on congruent subtracted from incongruent trials) were analyzed using the linear mixed-effect model. Findings The switch costs were larger on incongruent than congruent, and the Stroop effects were larger on language switch than repetition trials. This means that the LC performance decreased while resolving conflict, and the IC performance decreased during switching language, indicating that these two share a common IC mechanism. However, the switch costs and Stroop effects across L1 and L2 were symmetrical in all conditions, leaving the previous interpretation uncertain. Besides, the Stroop effects were larger when followed by congruent than incongruent trials during language repetition, whereas they were equal during switching. This means that the ability to adjust performance by previous experience was disrupted during language switching. Moreover, for the high-L2 proficiency group, this ability was diminished in language repetition trials too. These results indicate that rather than inhibition, other processes may primarily mediate bilinguals’ LC. Originality This study provides evidence for how language and inhibitory control influence each other by combining language switching and Stroop paradigms. Furthermore, it investigates the sequential congruency effects (SCE). Significance/implications This study shows that SCE investigation may provide significant theoretical implications.
... Therefore, beyond the acquisition of a second linguistic system, bilinguals must continuously monitor the communicative circumstances and selectively use one of their languages while suppressing the other. This constant monitoring and suppression confer increased cognitive demands on neural systems involved in language processing and cognitive control (Kroll et al., 2012). Our brain structure supports the use of the repertoire of thinking processes and behaviours necessary to achieve our everyday goals (Wenger & Kühn, 2021). ...
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Bilingualism impacts brain structure, especially in regions involved in language control and processing. However, the relation between structural brain changes and key aspects of bilingual language use is still poorly understood. Here we used structural MRI and non-linear modelling to investigate the effects of habitual code-switching (CS) practices on brain structure among Czech-English bilinguals. We studied the effects of usage frequency of various CS types (categorised by directionality and level of language separation) on the volumes of the caudate nucleus and the thalamus. Caudate volumes were positively correlated with overall CS frequency, with stronger effects for switches from L1 to L2. Thalamic volumes were positively correlated with engagement in forms of CS for which the two languages are more separate, with stronger effects for switching from L2 to L1. These results underscore the importance of using detailed measures of bilingual experiences when investigating the sources of bilingualism-induced neuroplasticity.
... Researchers agree that understanding the heterogeneity of bilingual language experiences is crucial to comprehend how bilingualism shapes cognition. Several studies have suggested that bilingualism is associated with more efficient domain-general cognitive functions (for reviews, see e.g., [13][14][15][16]). Nevertheless, the idea that bilinguals, compared to monolinguals, have enhanced domain-general functioning is still heavily debated (e.g., [17,18]). ...
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Monolingualism has typically been understood as a homogeneous phenomenon. The linguistic experiences of monolinguals are usually overlooked when analysing the impact of foreign language experiences on language processing and cognitive functioning. In this study, we analyse the linguistic experiences of 962 English-speaking individuals from the United Kingdom (UK) who identified as monolinguals. Through an online survey, we found that more than 80% of these monolinguals had learned at least one foreign language, dialect, or type of jargon. More than half of this 80% of monolinguals also used languages they had learned at some point in their lives. Moreover, nearly 40% of all the studied monolinguals confirmed that they had been passively exposed to foreign languages or dialects in their environment; approximately a fourth of these monolinguals who declared exposure to at least one foreign language (or dialect) confirmed that they also used these languages. Furthermore, activities that involved passive use of languages (i.e., activities that require reading or listening but do not require speaking or writing; e.g., watching TV) were occasionally carried out in foreign languages: around 26% of these monolinguals confirmed the passive use of more than one language. Lastly, around 58% of monolinguals who had visited one or more non-English-speaking countries declared the active use of foreign languages during their stay(s). These results suggest that the linguistic experiences of monolinguals from the UK often include exposure to and use of foreign languages. Moreover, these results show the need to consider the specificity of the monolingual language experience when analysing the impact of foreign languages on cognitive functioning, as differences in the language experiences of bilinguals also have divergent impacts on cognition. Lastly, monolingual experiences are different from bilingual experiences; therefore, existing questionnaires that evaluate language experiences should be adapted to capture the particular linguistic experiences of monolinguals.
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The present study uses EEG time-frequency representations (TFRs) with a Flanker task to investigate if and how individual differences in bilingual language experience modulate neurocognitive outcomes (oscillatory dynamics) in two bilingual group types: late bilinguals (L2 learners) and early bilinguals (heritage speakers—HSs). TFRs were computed for both incongruent and congruent trials. The difference between the two (Flanker effect vis-à-vis cognitive interference) was then (1) compared between the HSs and the L2 learners, (2) modeled as a function of individual differences with bilingual experience within each group separately and (3) probed for its potential (a)symmetry between brain and behavioral data. We found no differences at the behavioral and neural levels for the between-groups comparisons. However, oscillatory dynamics (mainly theta increase and alpha suppression) of inhibition and cognitive control were found to be modulated by individual differences in bilingual language experience, albeit distinctly within each bilingual group. While the results indicate adaptations toward differential brain recruitment in line with bilingual language experience variation overall, this does not manifest uniformly. Rather, earlier versus later onset to bilingualism—the bilingual type—seems to constitute an independent qualifier to how individual differences play out.
Article
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Attention has recently been proposed as the mechanism underlying the cognitive effects associated with bilingualism. However, similar to bilingualism, the term attention is complex, dynamic, and can vary from one activity to another. Throughout our daily lives, we use different types of attention that differ in complexity: sustained attention, selective attention, alternating attention, divided attention, and disengagement of attention. The present paper is a focused review summarizing the results from studies that explore the link between bilingualism and attention. For each level of attention, a brief overview of relevant theoretical models will be discussed along with a spotlight on paradigms and tasks used to measure these forms of attention. The findings illustrate that different types and levels of attention are modified by the variety of bilingual experiences. Future studies wishing to examine the effects of bilingualism on attention are encouraged to embrace the complexity and diversity of both constructs rather than making global claims about bilingualism and attention.
Chapter
This chapter is devoted to a widespread and deeply entrenched narrative that metonymically links languages to nations and to issues of national identity and belonging. It is argued that the nation-state myth has had a profound and long-lasting impact on (mainly negative) attitudes toward bilingualism, which becomes manifest to this day in the terminology used to refer to linguistic issues. In line with the basic assumptions of nineteenth-century nationalism and imperialism, the metonymic conflation of languages, language components, speakers, and nations paved the way for the understanding of bilingualism in terms of conflict and rivalry in speakers’ brains: Since languages and their speakers were identified with nations, and nations were considered to be constantly involved in war, it was assumed that interactions between languages in the mind should also be understood in terms of war.
Preprint
Monolingualism has typically been understood as a homogeneous phenomenon. The linguistic experiences of monolinguals are usually overlooked when analysing the impact of foreign language experiences on language processing and cognitive functioning. In this study, we analyse the linguistic experiences of 962 English-speaking individuals from the United Kingdom (UK) who identified as monolinguals. Through an online survey, we found that more than 80% of these monolinguals had in fact learned at least one foreign language, dialect, or type of jargon. More than half of this 80% of monolinguals also used languages they had learned at some point in their lives. Moreover, nearly 40% of all the studied monolinguals confirmed that they had been passively exposed to foreign languages or dialects in their environment; approximately a fourth of these monolinguals who declared exposure to at least one foreign language (or dialect) confirmed that they also used these languages. Furthermore, activities that involved passive use of languages (i.e., activities that may require some comprehension but do not require production; e.g., watching TV) were occasionally carried out in foreign languages: around 26% of these monolinguals confirmed the passive use of more than one language. Lastly, around 58% of monolinguals who had visited one or more non-English-speaking countries declared the active use of foreign languages during their stay(s). These results suggest that the linguistic experiences of monolinguals from the UK often include exposure to and use of foreign languages. Moreover, these results show the need to consider the specificity of the monolingual language experience when analysing the impact of foreign languages on cognitive functioning, as differences in the language experiences of bilinguals also have divergent impacts on cognition. Lastly, monolingual experiences are different from bilingual experiences; therefore, existing questionnaires that evaluate language experiences should be adapted to capture the particular linguistic experiences of monolinguals.
Article
Bilingual speakers often switch between languages in conversation without any advance notice. Psycholinguistic research has found that these language shifts (or code-switches) can be costly for comprehenders in certain situations. The present study explores the nature of these costs by comparing code-switches to other types of unexpected linguistic material. To do this, we used a novel EEG paradigm, the Storytime task, in which we record readings of natural texts, and then experimentally manipulate their properties by splicing in words. In this study, we manipulated the language of our target words (English, Spanish) and their fit with the preceding context (strong-fit, weak-fit). If code-switching incurs a unique cost beyond that incurred by an unexpected word, then we should see an additive pattern in our ERP indices. If an effect is driven by lexical expectation alone, then there should be a non-additive interaction such that all unexpected forms incur a similar cost. We found three effects: a general prediction effect (a non-additive N400), a post-lexical recognition of the switch in languages (an LPC for code-switched words), and a prolonged integration difficulty associated with weak-fitting words regardless of language (a sustained negativity). We interpret these findings as suggesting that the processing difficulties experienced by bilinguals can largely be understood within more general frameworks for understanding language comprehension. Our findings are consistent with the broader literature demonstrating that bilinguals do not have two wholly separate language systems but rather a single language system capable of using two coding systems.
Chapter
This chapter discusses ontological metaphors, that is, the conceptualization of abstract phenomena, such as language(s) in terms of objects, substances, or containers. It is argued that it is only because of these ontological reifications that psychologists can think of languages and language components as having some kind of concrete existence in the brain and as interacting with each other in different ways.
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This study investigated how natural language use influences inhibition in language-unbalanced bilinguals. We experimentally induced natural patterns of language use (as proposed by the Adaptive Control Hypothesis) and assessed their cognitive after-effects in a group of 32 Polish–English bilinguals. Each participant took part in a series of three language games involving real conversation. Each game was followed by two inhibition tasks (stop-signal task and Stroop task). The manipulation of language use in the form of language games did not affect the behavioural measures, but it did affect ERPs. Performance of the inhibition tasks was accompanied by a reduction of P3 and the N450 amplitude differences after games involving the use of L2. The ERP modulations suggest that for bilinguals living in an L1 context the use of L2 enhances neural mechanisms related to inhibition. The study provides the first evidence for a direct influence of natural language use on inhibition.
Chapter
This chapter provides a detailed analysis of different types of metaphors that have been used in academic discourse to explain how different languages coexist and interact in a bilingual’s brain. These metaphors can be mainly related to three source domains: war in the first half of the twentieth century, and later sports and business competition. These different source domains can be schematically reduced to the notion of contentious activities between two parties. The contention metaphor scheme is not only ubiquitous in discourse on the effects of bilingualism on cognition, but even constitutive for theories proposed to explain the bilingual advantage or disadvantage. In line with our everyday understanding of these activities, war has disastrous consequences for the people involved, while sports and business competition are associated with enhanced performance of competitors. Thus, the idea that being bilingual entails conflict and/or competition between languages is consistent throughout the entire investigation period, while it receives different interpretations at different moments in time, leading to either negative or positive evaluations.
Article
Recent research suggests that bilinguals might exhibit advantages in several areas of executive function, including working memory, inhibitory control, and attentional control. However, few studies have examined potential bilingual advantages within lower socioeconomic status (SES) populations. Here we addressed this gap in the literature by investigating whether low-SES Spanish–English bilingual preschoolers exhibited advantages in executive function relative to two monolingual control groups (English, Spanish). Across three experiments, bilingual children exhibited superior performance on two different measures of visual–spatial memory, as well as measures of inhibitory and attentional control. These results suggest that bilinguals exhibit broad advantages in executive function during the preschool years, and these advantages are evident within a disadvantaged, low-SES population.
Chapter
This chapter is dedicated to theoretical and methodological issues, among them the concept of language myth, the composition of the corpus examined in the study, the selection of linguistic phenomena to be analyzed, and the theoretical foundations of the study in Cognitive Linguistics and discourse analysis. While keywords and collocations will play an important role in the quantitative analysis of the corpus, metaphors and, to a lesser extent, metonymies will be the focus of the analysis given their particular contribution to the discursive construction of language(s) and bilingualism in the corpus texts, and their heuristic function both in language myths and in scientific theory-building.
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Word knowledge and the speed of word processing in monolingual children and adults are influenced by word properties, such as the age of acquisition (AoA), imageability, and frequency. Understanding how different properties of words contribute to the ease of processing by bilingual children is a critical step for establishing models of childhood bilingualism. However, a joint impact of these properties has not been so far assessed in bilingual children. Here, we compared the impact of AoA, imageability, and frequency on accuracy and response times in picture naming and picture recognition tasks in monolingual and bilingual children. We used Cross-Linguistic Lexical Tasks to test 45 monolingual children (aged 4 to 7 years) and 45 migrant bilingual children in their L1 (Polish). Word AoA, imageability, and frequency independently affected the accuracy and response times in both picture naming and picture recognition tasks. Crucially, bilingual children were more sensitive to word characteristics than their monolingual peers: Bilingual children’s accuracy was particularly low for words of high AoA (in the picture recognition task) and for words of low frequency (in the picture naming task). Also, the increase in response times for low-imageable and low-frequent words was particularly salient in bilingual children. The results suggest a new area of interest for further studies: the question of whether bilinguals and monolinguals show different sensitivity to psycholinguistic factors, and if so, does that sensitivity change with age or language exposure?
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of the development of research on the effects of bilingualism on cognitive performance from the beginning of the twentieth century until today. It presents the different stances that research has taken toward bilingualism at different moments in time and in different countries.
Article
While there is a substantial amount of work studying multilingualism’s effect on cognitive functions, little is known about how the multilingual experience modulates the brain as a whole. In this study, we analyzed data of over 1,000 children from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study to examine whether monolinguals and multilinguals differ in executive function, functional brain connectivity, and brain–behavior associations. We observed significantly better performance from multilingual children than monolinguals in working-memory tasks. In one finding, we were able to classify multilinguals from monolinguals using only their whole-brain functional connectome at rest and during an emotional n-back task. Compared to monolinguals, the multilingual group had different functional connectivity mainly in the occipital lobe and subcortical areas during the emotional n-back task and in the occipital lobe and prefrontal cortex at rest. In contrast, we did not find any differences in behavioral performance and functional connectivity when performing a stop-signal task. As a second finding, we investigated the degree to which behavior is reflected in the brain by implementing a connectome-based behavior prediction approach. The multilingual group showed a significant correlation between observed and connectome-predicted individual working-memory performance scores, while the monolingual group did not show any correlations. Overall, our observations suggest that multilingualism enhances executive function and reliably modulates the corresponding brain functional connectome, distinguishing multilinguals from monolinguals even at the developmental stage.
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Aim The age of acquisition of second language (AoA-L2) affects the neural representation of the first language (L1) and L2. Although previous task-fMRI studies showed different activation patterns of language networks in early and late bilinguals, little is known about the effect of AoA-L2 on L1 and L2 resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) networks in bilinguals. In this study, we attempted to reveal the differences in resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) and topological properties of L1 and L2 networks related to AoA-L2 in bilinguals. Design We pooled 10 early bilinguals and 11 late bilinguals with high proficiency level in L2 (PL-L2) and acquired their brain rs-fMRI data. By taking the brain regions obtained from a previous meta-analysis study as the seeds, we constructed L1 and L2 networks, and then estimated the RSFC and topological properties of L1 and L2 networks. Findings Significantly higher RSFC between the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and lateral occipital gyrus (LOG) in the L1 network, and significantly higher RSFC between the IFG and angular gyrus (ANG) in the L2 network were observed in early bilinguals than in late bilinguals. Early bilinguals showed significantly higher clustering coefficient, global and local efficiency, but lower characteristic path length, than late bilinguals in the L2 network. Originality Through analyzing the RSFC and topological properties of L1 and L2 networks, we observed the influence of AoA-L2 on the brain neuroplasticity in bilinguals. The findings may provide a new perspective for understanding the neuroplasticity in bilinguals with different L2 experience. Implications The AoA-L2 affects the RSFC and topological properties of the L2 network more obviously relative to the L1 network in bilinguals. The effect of the L2 experience on the L1 network is hardly detected in bilinguals with high PL-L2.
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In this study, the authors show that cross-lingual phonological priming is possible not only from the 1st language (L1) to the 2nd language (L2), but also from L2 to L1. In addition, both priming effects were found to have the same magnitude and to not be related to differences in word naming latencies between L1 and L2. The findings are further evidence against language-selective access models of bilingual word processing and are more in line with strong phonological models of visual word recognition than with the traditional dual-route models.
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This chapter focuses on the interplay between first language (L1) transfer and psycholinguistic constraints on second language (L2) processability. The theoretical assumptions underlying this paper are those made in Processability Theory (PT) (Pienemann, 1998) which include, in particular, the following two hypotheses: (1) that L1 transfer is constrained by the processability of the given structure and (2) that the initial state of the L2 does not necessarily equal the final state of the L1, because there is no guarantee that the given L1 structure is processable by the under-developed L2 parser. In other words, it is assumed that L1 transfer is constrained by the capacity of the language processor of the L2 learner (or bilingual speaker) irrespective of the typological distance between the two languages. Using the PT hierarchy as a comparative matrix we will demonstrate on the basis of empirical studies of second language acquisition that learners of closely related languages do not necessarily transfer grammatical features at the initial state even if these features are contained in L1 and L2, providing the features are located higher up the processability hierarchy. We will further demonstrate that such features will be transferred when the interlanguage has developed the necessary processing prerequisites. In addition, we will demonstrate that typological distance and differences in grammatical marking need not constitute a barrier to learning if the feature to be learned is processable at the given point in time. All of this demonstrates that processability is a key variable in L1 transfer.
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The focus of the study is two-fold: (1) to determine how much phonemic material must be considered in predicting nominal gender in Spanish; (2) to determine if gender assignment can be considered an analogical process. A database of Spanish nouns extracted from a frequency dictionary serves as the database for the present study, while the phonemic make up and syllable structure of the penultimate rhyme and final syllable serve as the variables. A number of analogical simulations using the Analogical Modeling of Language algorithm demonstrate that phonemic material from as far back as the penultimate rhyme may aid in gender assignment. Analogy is also shown to closely mirror Spanish speakers' intuitions regarding the gender of unknown words. Gender assignment errors made by children also fall out of the analogical architecture.
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A goal of second language (L2) learning is to enable learners to understand and speak L2 words without mediation through the first language (L1). However, psycholinguistic research suggests that lexical candidates are routinely activated in L1 when words in L2 are processed. In this article we describe two experiments that examined the acquisition of L2 lexical fluency. In Experiment 1, two groups of native English speakers, one more and one less fluent in French as their L2, performed word naming and translation tasks. Learners were slower and more error prone to name and to translate words into L2 than more fluent bilinguals. However, there was also an asymmetry in translation performance such that forward translation was slower than backward translation. Learners were also slower than fluent bilinguals to name words in English, the L1 of both groups. In Experiment 2, we compared the performance of native English speakers at early stages of learning French or Spanish to the performance of fluent bilinguals on the same tasks. The goal was to determine whether the apparent cost to L1 reading was a consequence of L2 learning or a reflection of differences in cognitive abilities between learners and bilinguals. Experiment 2 replicated the main features of Experiment 1 and showed that bilinguals scored higher than learners on a measure of L1 reading span, but that this difference did not account for the apparent cost to L1 naming.We consider the implications of these results for models of the developing lexicon.
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Three experiments, the first two in Dutch and the other in French, in which subject-verb agreement errors were induced, are reported. We investigated the effects of the number of tokens in the conceptual representation of the to-be-uttered subject noun phrase (i.e. distributivity). Previous studies have failed to show an effect of this variable in English (Bock & Miller, 1991; Vigliocco, Butterworth, & Garrett, in press). However, Vigliocco, Butterworth and Semenza (1995) and Vigliocco et al. (in press) did find an effect of distributivity in Italian and Spanish. In an attempt to account for this difference across languages, three structural differences between English and Spanish/Italian have been considered: (1) richness of verbal morphology; (2) possibility of post-verbal subjects; (3) possibility of null subjects. In the present study, we tested French and Dutch, which share some but not all of these properties with Italian and Spanish. In both languages, a distributivity effect was obtained, a result which strongly supports an account in which neither null subjects nor post-verbal subjects are the main determinants, across languages, of their different sensitivities to conceptual factors.
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The occurrence of codeswitching, or the seemingly random alternation of two languages both between and within sentences, has been shown (Gumperz, 1976; Pfaff, 1975; Wentz, 1977) to be governed not only by extralinguistic but also linguistic factors. For the balanced bilingual, codeswitching appears to be subject to an ‘equivalence constraint’ (Poplack, 1978): i.e. it tends to occur at points in discourse where juxtaposition of L1 and L2 elements does not violate a surface syntactic rule of either language. If correct, the equivalence constraint on codeswitching may be used to measure degree of bilingual ability. It was hypothesized that equivalence would either be violated by non-fluent bilinguals, or that switch points which are ‘risky’ in terms of syntactic well-formedness (i.e. those which occur within a sentence) would tend to be avoided altogether. To test this hypothesis, I analysed the speech of 20 Puerto Rican residents of a stable bilingual community, exhibiting varying degrees of bilingual ability. Quantitative analysis of their switches revealed that both fluent and non-fluent bilinguals were able to code-switch frequently and still maintain grammaticality in both Lx and L2. While fluent bilinguals tended to switch at various syntactic boundaries within the sentence, non-fluent bilinguals favoured switching between sentences, allowing them to participate in the codeswitching mode, without fear of violating a grammatical rule of either of the languages involved. These results suggest that the codeswitching mode proceeds from that area of the bilingual's grammar where the surface structures of Lx and L2 overlap, and that codeswitching, rather than representing debasement of linguistic skill, is actually a sensitive indicator of bilingual ability.
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This paper presents an extended formulation of the Competition Model. The extended model is designed to account for a larger range of phenomena in first and second language acquisition, including bilingualism. As in the classic version of the Competition Model, competition is at the core of a set of non-modular interacting forces. However, now the various inputs to competition are described in terms of six additional subcomponents: arenas, cues, chunking, storage, codes, and resonance. Learning is viewed as a resonant process that relies on storage, chunking, and support to acquire new mappings.
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The ways in which age of acquisition (AoA) may affect (morpho)syntax in second language acquisition (SLA) are discussed. We suggest that event-related brain potentials (ERPs) provide an appropriate online measure to test some such effects. ERP findings of the past decade are reviewed with a focus on recent and ongoing research. It is concluded that, in contrast to previous suggestions, there is little evidence for a strict critical period in the domain of late acquired second language (L2) morphosyntax. As illustrated by data from our lab and others, proficiency rather than AoA seems to predict brain activity patterns in L2 processing, including native-like activity at very high levels of proficiency. Further, a strict distinction between linguistic structures that late L2 learners can vs. cannot learn to process in a native-like manner (Clahsen and Felser, 2006a; 2006b) may not be warranted. Instead, morphosyntactic real-time processing in general seems to undergo dramatic, but systematic, changes with increasing proficiency levels. We describe the general dynamics of these changes (and the corresponding ERP components) and discuss how ERP research can advance our current understanding of SLA in general.
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Speakers who routinely use more than one language may not use any of their languages in ways which are exactly like that of a monolingual speaker. In sequential bilingualism, for example, there is often evidence of interference from the L1 in the L2 system. Describing these interference phenomena and accounting for them on the basis of theoretical models of linguistic knowledge has long been a focus of interest of Applied Linguistics. More recently, research has started to investigate linguistic traffic which goes the other way: L2 interferences and contact phenomena evident in the L1. Such phenomena are probably experienced to some extent by all bilinguals. They are, however, most evident among speakers for whom a language other than the L1 has started to play an important, if not dominant, role in everyday life (Schmid and Köpke, 2007). This is the case for migrants who move to a country where a language is spoken which, for them, is a second or foreign language. We refer to the phenomena of L1 change and L2 interference which can be observed in such situations as language attrition.
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Models of bilingual speech production generally assume that translation equivalent lexical nodes share a common semantic representation. Though this type of architecture is highly desirable on both theoretical and empirical grounds, it could create difficulty at the point of lexical selection. If two translation equivalent lexical nodes are activated to roughly equal levels every time that their shared semantic representation becomes activated, the lexical selection mechanism should find it difficult to “decide” between the two (the “hard problem”) – yet in some cases bilinguals benefit from the presence of a translation equivalent “competitor”. In this article, we review three models that have been proposed as solutions to the hard problem. Each of these models has difficulty accounting for the full range of findings in the literature but we suggest that these shortcomings stem from their acceptance of the assumption that lexical selection is competitive. We argue that without this assumption each proposal is able to provide a full account of the empirical findings. We conclude by suggesting that the simplest of these proposals should be rejected before more complicated models are considered.
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Two picture-word interference experiments were conducted to investigate whether or not words from a first and more dominant language are activated during lexical access in a foreign and less dominant language. Native speakers of Dutch were instructed to name pictures in their foreign language English. Our experiments show that the Dutch name of a picture is activated during initial stages of the process of lexical in English as a foreign language. We conclude that bilingual speakers cannot suppress activation from their first language while naming pictures in a foreign language. The implications for bilingual speech production theories are discussed.
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This study investigated the possibility that lifelong bilingualism may lead to enhanced efficiency in the ability to shift between mental sets. We compared the performance of monolingual and fluent bilingual college students in a task-switching paradigm. Bilinguals incurred reduced switching costs in the task-switching paradigm when compared with monolinguals, suggesting that lifelong experience in switching between languages may contribute to increased efficiency in the ability to shift flexibly between mental sets. On the other hand, bilinguals did not differ from monolinguals in the differential cost of performing mixed-task as opposed to single-task blocks. Together, these results indicate that bilingual advantages in executive function most likely extend beyond inhibition of competing responses, and encompass flexible mental shifting as well.
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Bilingual speech requires that the language of utterances be selected prior to articulation. Past research has debated whether the language of speaking can be determined in advance of speech planning and, if not, the level at which it is eventually selected. We argue that the reason that it has been difficult to come to an agreement about language selection is that there is not a single locus of selection. Rather, language selection depends on a set of factors that vary according to the experience of the bilinguals, the demands of the production task, and the degree of activity of the nontarget language. We demonstrate that it is possible to identify some conditions that restrict speech planning to one language alone and others that open the process to cross-language influences. We conclude that the presence of language nonselectivity at all levels of planning spoken utterances renders the system itself fundamentally nonselective.
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This study investigated whether bilinguals simultaneously activate phonological representations from both of their languages when reading words in just one. The critical stimuli were interlingual homographs (e.g., PAIN) that were low in frequency in the target language of the study (English) and high in frequency in the nontarget language (French). Both English-French and French-English bilinguals were tested. In each experiment, participants named a block of English experimental words, a block of French filler words, and then a second block of English experimental words. In the first block of English trials, the English-French bilinguals had similar naming latencies for homographs and English-only control words, although they made more errors on homographs. In contrast, the French-English bilinguals showed a homograph disadvantage in both the latency and error data. In the second block of English trials, both the English-French bilinguals and the French-English bilinguals showed homograph interference on latency and error measures. We interpret these results as indicating that the activation of phonological representations can appear to be both language-specific and nonspecific, depending on the characteristics of the bilingual and whether they have recently named words in the nontarget language.
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Immediate effects of verb-specific syntactic (subcategorization) information were found in a cross-model naming experiment, a self-paced reading experiment, and an experiment in which eye movements were monitored. In the reading studies, syntactic misanalysis effects in sentence complements (e.g., "The student forgot the solution was...") occurred at the verb in the complement (e.g., was) for matrix verbs typically used with noun phrase complements but not for verbs typically used with sentence complements. In addition, a complementizer effect for sentence-complement-biased verbs was not due to syntactic misanalysis but was correlated with how strongly a particular verb prefers to be followed by the complementizer that. The results support models that make immediate use of lexically specific constraints, especially constraint-based models, but are problematic for lexical filtering models.
Chapter
This chapter focuses on linguistic norm, specifically a nonstandard or vernacular norm, as opposed to a fully codified standard norm. Belfast is a city of relatively recent development, having undergone its major period of growth some 50 years later than comparable English industrial cities. An individual network score on a scale of 0–5 was calculated for each of the 46 informants. It may appear at first sight that multiplex ties of the kind reflected in conditions three, four, and five are usually contracted by men, and that men would, therefore, automatically score higher on the network strength scale. Scores for each individual speaker on eight separate phonological variables were calculated and a large number of rank order correlation tests carried out as a means of testing the hypothesis that network patterns were related to patterns of language use. It is only in Ballymacarrett that many phonological variables correlate significantly with personal network structure.
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This article presents experimental data to investigate the nature of the distributional differences reported in the Spanish-English code-switching literature for AUXILIARY + PARTICIPLE phrases. Naturalistic data show that switches between the Spanish auxiliary haber ('have') and an English participle are largely non-existent. However, switches involving the auxiliary estar ('be') occur rather frequently. The primary goal of this paper is to test the status of these two switch types in terms of their processibility and grammaticality. Two reading experiments were conducted examining switches involving the Present Perfect form (Experiment 1), and the Progressive form (Experiment 2). For each experiment, two conditions were created. In Condition 1, the switch occurred at the phrasal boundary (terroristas HAVE INJURED and ciudadanos ARE SUPPORTING). In Condition 2, the switch occurred between the auxiliary and the participle (terroristas HAN INJURED and ciudadanos ESTÁN SUPPORTING). English-Spanish bilinguals read sentences in each condition. Data were collected using an eye-tracker that recorded reading times for the auxiliary phrase. After reading each sentence, participants performed a grammaticality judgment task. The findings revealed that participants took significantly longer to read HABER + ENGLISH PARTICIPLE (terroristas HAN INJURED) switches than switches at the phrasal boundary (terroristas HAVE INJURED). However, ESTAR + ENGLISH PARTICIPLE switches (ciudadanos ESTÁN SUPPORTING) did not incur a significant reading cost. In addition, HABER + ENGLISH PARTICIPLE switches were judged ungrammatical significantly more times than ESTAR + ENGLISH PARTICIPLE switches. These findings suggest that switches at the auxiliary phrase are processed differently, depending on the lexical items that fill the auxiliary node. The results support the hypothesis that the degree of boundedness of the elements in the auxiliary phrase impacts the ease with which code-switching occurs.
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This chapter focuses on two types of ambiguity: lexical and syntactic ambiguity. The two kinds of ambiguity can interact-for example, adopting noun vs. verb interpretation of man affects how one interprets the syntactic structure of a sentence containing this word. Despite the close relationship between these two types of ambiguity, for much of the history of modern psycholinguistics they have been studied independently. This division reflected differing views about lexical and syntactic representations. The meanings and other properties of words have often been thought to be stored in the lexicon, a person's mental dictionary. On this view, interpreting words involves looking up, or accessing, information in the lexicon. This process is thought to be autonomous, proceeding in the same way regardless of the context in which a word occurred. It is also thought to make minimal demands on limited capacity working memory and attentional resources, allowing multiple meanings of words to be accessed in parallel. This led to a two-stage model of lexical ambiguity resolution. In the first stage, the lexical system accessed the common meaning or meanings of words; in the second stage, information derived from the linguistic and extra-linguistic contexts and the comprehender's background knowledge are used to select the appropriate meaning and integrate it into the developing representation of the sentence.
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Performance of bilingual Russian–English speakers and monolingual English speakers during auditory processing of competing lexical items was examined using eye tracking. Results revealed that both bilinguals and monolinguals experienced competition from English lexical items overlapping phonetically with an English target item (e.g., spear and speaker). However, only bilingual speakers experienced competition from Russian competitor items overlapping crosslinguistically with an English target (e.g., spear and spichki, Russian for matches). English monolinguals treated the Russian competitors as they did any other filler items. This difference in performance between bilinguals and monolinguals tested with exactly the same sets of stimuli suggests that eye movements to a crosslinguistic competitor are due to activation of the other language and to between-language competition rather than being an artifact of stimulus selection or experimental design.
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In the study of bilingual code-switching, identifying the typology and language of individual switched elements has generally proceeded from theoretical models involving the identification of a base language and the phrase structure of both languages. Such fundamental notions as word order, the language of functional heads, relations of syntactic government, and purely quantitative measures of the amount of material in each language have variously been used to classify language switching within a single clause. The formal study of bilingual code-switching—with Spanish-English bilingualism receiving high prominence—has enjoyed more than three decades of serious activity, incorporating the intersection of sociolinguistics and variationist models, syntactic theory, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and literary and cultural studies. After more than three decades of research on Spanish-English code-switching it might seem that there is little left to explore; there are, however, some phenomena that do not fit easily into current typologies, and one such manifestation will be explored in the present study. An accepted axiom of Spanish-English code-switching is that there are clear quantitative and qualitative differences among the language switches of fluent bilinguals, Spanish-speaking immigrants who learned English in adolescence or adulthood, and native speakers of English who have acquired Spanish as a L2. The first group is most noted for intrasentential code-switching and for the use of language switches to achieve pragmatic ends such as foregrounding, ethnic solidarity, persuasion, and the like. Calques of idiomatic expressions in English are frequent when speaking Spanish, with fewer cases of Spanish calques in English discourse, and numerous loans from English are present. Spanish- speaking immigrants typically switch only at major discourse boundaries such as sentences and paragraphs, usually in response to shifting domains of discourse. Calques from English are rare and English lexical items are usually inserted in non-assimilated fashion. English-speaking students of Spanish switch to English primarily when their abilities in Spanish are exceeded by the demands of a particular communicative task, and often show less sensitivity to the linguistic abilities and preferences of their interlocutors. Calques from English are common, including combinations that violate Spanish syntactic rules, and unassimilated English words may be freely inserted whenever the Spanish word is unknown. Seldom does a single type of language shifting span all three groups of nominally bilingual speakers. The reasons for these qualitative differences constitute a major research question, as does the related issue of what the bilingual grammars of all three groups of speakers have in common. 2. The study of Spanish-English code-switching in the United States Grammatical constraints on Spanish-English language switching formed the basis for some of the earliest and most influential studies of bilingual code mixing, and form part of the core bibliography to this day. A number of specific claims about the grammatical structures of allowable code-switches emerged from these early studies, and were frequently extrapolated to include other instances of bilingual usage. As the number of individual case studies grew—including languages from widely differing families such as Korean, Japanese, Tagalog, Arabic, Hebrew, Cantonese, Berber, Nahuatl, and Polish, among many others—it became apparent that the close typological similarity between Spanish and English facilitated fluent intrasentential code-switching of a sort not as often found when typologically very different languages are switched. While none of the syntactic claims made for
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This study examines the reading patterns of native speakers (NSs) and high-level (Chinese) nonnative speakers (NNSs) on three English sentence types involving temporarily ambiguous structural configurations. The reading patterns on each sentence type indicate that both NSs and NNSs were biased toward specific structural interpretations. These results are interpreted as evidence that both first-language and second-language (L2) sentence comprehension is guided (at least in part) by structure-based parsing strategies and, thus as counterevidence to the claim that NNSs are largely limited to rudimentary (or “shallow”) syntactic computation during online L2 sentence processing.
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Previous research has shown that bilingual children perform better than comparable monolinguals on tasks requiring control of attention to inhibit misleading information. The present paper reports a series of studies that traces this processing difference into adulthood and eventually aging. The task used in all groups, from children to older adults, is the Simon task, a measure of stimulus-response incompatibility. The results showed that bilinguals performed better than monolinguals in early childhood, adulthood, and later adulthood. There was no difference in performance between monolinguals and bilinguals who were young adults, specifically university undergraduates. Our interpretation is that performance is at its peak efficiency for that group and bilingualism offers no further boost. The results are discussed in terms of the effect of bilingualism on control of attention and inhibition through the lifespan.
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Three experiments are reported in which picture naming and bilingual translation were performed in the context of semantically categorized or randomized lists. In Experiments 1 and 3 picture naming and bilingual translation were slower in the categorized than randomized conditions. In Experiment 2 this category interference effect in picture naming was eliminated when picture naming alternated with word naming. Taken together, the results of the three experiments suggest that in both picture naming and bilingual translation a conceptual representation of the word or picture is used to retrieve a lexical entry in one of the speaker's languages. When conceptual activity is sufficiently great to activate a multiple set of corresponding lexical representations, interference is produced in the process of retrieving a single best lexical candidate as the name or translation. The results of Experiment 3 showed further that category interference in bilingual translation occurred only when translation was performed from the first language to the second language, suggesting that the two directions of translation engage different interlanguage connections. A model to account for the asymmetric mappings of words to concepts in bilingual memory is described. (C) 1994 Academic Press, Inc.
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Changes in several postnatal maturational processes during neural development have been implicated as potential mechanisms underlying critical period phenomena. Lenneberg hypothesized that maturational processes similar to those that govern sensory and motor development may also constrain capabilities for normal language acquisition. Our goal, using a bilingual model, was to investigate the hypothesis that maturational constraints may have different effects upon the development of the functional specializations of distinct sub within language. Subjects were 61 adult Chinese/English bilinguals who were exposed to English at different points in development: 13, 46, 710, 1113, and after 16 years of age. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and behavioral responses were obtained as subjects read sentences that included semantic anomalies, three types of syntactic violations (phrase structure, specificity constraint, and subjacency constraint), and their controls. The accuracy in judging the grammaticality for the different types of syntactic rules and their associated ERPs was affected by delays in second language exposure as short as 13 years. By comparison the N400 response and the judgment accuracies in detecting semantic anomalies were altered only in subjects who were exposed to English after 1113 and 16 years of age, respectively. Further, the type of changes occurring in ERPs with delays in exposure were qualitatively different for semantic and syntactic processing. All groups displayed a significant N400 effect in response to semantic anomalies, however, the peak latencies of the N400 elicited in bilinguals who were exposed to English between 1113 and >16 years occurred later, suggesting a slight slowing in processing. For syntactic processing. the ERP differences associated with delays in exposure to English were observed in the morphology and distribution of components. Our findings are consistent with the view that maturational changes significantly constrain the development of the neural systems that are relevant for language and, further, that subsystems specialized for processing different aspects of language display different sensitive periods.
Article
Activation processes appear to have an important impact on the mechanisms of language use, including those responsible for syntactic structure in speech. Some implications of this claim for theories of language performance were examined with a syntactic priming procedure. On each priming trial, subjects produced a priming sentence in one of several syntactic forms. They then viewed an unrelated event in a picture and described it in one sentence. The probability of a particular syntactic form being used in the description increased when that form had occurred in the prime, under presentation conditions that minimized subjects' attention to their speech, to the syntactic features of the priming sentences, and to connections between the priming sentences and the subsequent pictures. This syntactic repetition effect suggests that sentence formulation processes are somewhat inertial and subject to such probabilistic factors as the frequency or recency of use of particular structural forms. Two further experiments showed that this effect was not appreciably modified by variations in certain conceptual characteristics of sentences, and all three experiments found evidence that the effects of priming were specific to features of sentence form, independent of sentence content. The empirical isolability of structural features from conceptual characteristics of successive utterances is consistent with the assumption that some syntactic processes are organized into a functionally independent subsystem.
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Examined whether the main characteristics of Stroop-like naming tasks also show up in a word-translation variant of the Stroop Color and Word Test. 14 Dutch university students translated common English words that were preceded or followed by a Dutch distractor word (DW). Results were similar to those obtained with color and picture naming. When the DW followed the target stimulus, an orthographic relation between the DW and the to-be-retrieved response word (RW) facilitated performance compared with an unrelated word. A categorical relation between the DW and the RW hampered performance. This task may be useful in the