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Active and dormant languages in the multilingual mental lexicon

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Abstract

Two experimental paradigms, a picture-naming task and a Stroop interference task, were employed to address the structure of the multilingual mental lexicon; more specifically, the process of multilingual non-selective lexical access. German-English-French speakers named objects in their native and most dominant language in a task that included a manipulation of triple (Wein, wine, vin) and double cognates (Beere, berry or Zitrone, citron). The vocal Stroop task was administered in both within- and between-language conditions to explore the interference patterns between the languages. In general, it was hypothesised that differing levels of language proficiency will play an integral role in the observed results. The speech onset times were measured for both tasks and pointed to complex interaction patterns. German and English were seen as the most active and prone to interference systems, whilst French appeared more as a dormant language that does not exert much influence on the other two systems.

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... These things indicate that Indonesian and Arabic are active languages that they use so that it can significantly affect the production of the English they are learning. This is in line with what was stated by Tytus (2018) who found that although French is a dormant language in his research subjects, the production of other languages affects French production because other languages are more actively used compared to other languages. This is characterized by significantly slower production of French compared to other languages they speak. ...
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This study examines how the cross-linguistic similarity of translation equivalents affects bilingual word recognition. Performing one of three tasks, Dutch–English bilinguals processed cognates with varying degrees of form overlap between their English and Dutch counterparts (e.g., lamp–lamp vs. flood-vloed vs. song-lied). In lexical decision, reaction times decreased going from translation equivalents without any cross-linguistic orthographic overlap to very similar but non-identical cognates. Identical cognates showed a large discontinuous processing advantage and were subject to facilitation from phonological similarity. In language decision, the effect of orthographic similarity reversed: a cognate inhibition effect arose, the size of which increased with orthographic similarity. Here identical cognates were markedly slower than other cognates. In progressive demasking, no orthographic similarity effect was found for non-identical cognates, but a semantic similarity effect arose. In addition, there was a facilitation effect for identical cognates of low English frequency. The task-dependent result patterns are interpreted in terms of four accounts of cognate representation and provide evidence in favor of a localist connectionist account.
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In five experiments, we examined cross-language activation during speech production in various groups of bilinguals and trilinguals who differed in nonnative language proficiency, language learning background, and age. In Experiments 1, 2, 3, and 5, German 5- to 8-year-old second language learners of English, German-English bilinguals, German-English-Language X trilinguals, and adult German-English bilinguals, respectively, named pictures in German and in English; in Experiment 4, 6- to 8-year-old German monolinguals named pictures in German. In both language conditions, cognate status was manipulated. We found that the bidirectional cognate facilitation effect was significant in all groups except the German monolinguals (Experiment 4) and, critically, the child second language learners (Experiment 1) in whom only native language (L1) German had an effect on second language (L2) English. The findings demonstrate how the integration of languages into a child's system follows a developmental path that, at lower levels of proficiency, allows only limited cross-language activation. The results are interpreted against the backdrop of the developing language systems of the children both for early second language learners and for early bi- and trilinguals.
Article
Previous research has demonstrated that cross-language activation is present even when proficient bilinguals perform a task only in one language. The present study investigated the time-course of cross-language activation during word production in a second language (L2) by using a picture-word interference paradigm with event-related potentials (ERPs). Spanish-English bilinguals living in an L2 environment named pictures in their L2 English while ignoring L2 English distractor words that were visually presented with the pictures. Participants named pictures more slowly when distractors were semantically related or phonologically related to either the English name of the picture or the Spanish name of the picture than when picture and distractor word were unrelated. Interference was also detectable in the mean amplitude of the N2 peak (200-260 ms) and the N3 range (350-400 ms). The results suggest that lexical alternatives from both languages compete for selection in the process of L2 speech planning in a predominantly L2 context.
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--George Peabody College for Teachers, 1933.
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