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PSY 369: Psycholinguistics Language Acquisition: Bilinugalism
Contexts • Contexts of childhood bilingualism • Distinction is a little arbitrary, no hard and fast rules • Simultaneous bilingualism - when learn both languages at same time (although there is variability in definitions here) • Typically when children are in a community (including a home) that is bilingual • Sequential bilingualism - when learn second language after acquiring the native language • Commonly called second-language acquisition. • Occurs in a variety of different circumstances
Sequential bilingualism • Video Questions: • Does acquisition/learning proceed in the same way the second time through? • Many different opinions: • May depend on the age of the learner • May depend on the threshold of what you count as similar vs. different • What’s the best method for learning/teaching a second language
Activity • Determine who or what is the one performing the action. • The waitress pushes the cowboys. • The telephones pushes the cowboys. • Kisses the table the apple. • The baskets the teacher kicks. • As a native speaker of English we can use many cues: • Word order • Animacy • Verb agreement • Not all languages use the same cues to the same extent • e.g., German doesn’t rely as much on word order, but relies more on agreement processes
Activity • Determine who or what is the one performing the action. • The waitress pushes the cowboys. • The telephones pushes the cowboys. • Kisses the table the apple. • The baskets the teacher kicks. • Kilborn (1989, 1994) • Found that bilinguals (English as second language) typically carry over the dominant processing strategies from their native languages. • This interacts with their level of fluency in the second language
Some questions • Notation: • L1 = native language • L2 = second language • Interesting research questions • Can one language ever be fully turned off? • Is L1 grammar always active? • Can L2 become the more dominant language? • What factors influence the relative activation of the two languages (individual and contextual)? • Are concepts shared by the bilingual’s two languages? • Is there an easy answer? • Fully versus partially shared semantics
Simultaneous bilingualism • Rate of development • Whether languages are related or not doesn’t seem to matter • Vocabulary growth of bilinguals is similar to that of monolinguals • Some studies suggest that there is some delay in syntactic development • Gathercole (2002) • Lag acquiring count/mass N distinction (rice/pea) • Lag acquiring grammatical gender
Interesting effects in bilinguals • Interference • Code switching
Interesting effects in bilinguals • Interference • Does knowing two languages lead to interference? • When found, interference is at multiple levels • Phonological - least amount of interference • Lexical - mixing words from different languages • Initially, appear to use a one word per thing strategy • But as they realize there that they’re speaking two language, then they’ll use words from both languages simultaneously • Syntactic • Until year two, may use only one syntactic system which is common to both languages • Then a brief period with two sets of lexical items, but still a common syntax • Finally, two lexicons and two sets of syntax
Code switching • When bilinguals substitute a word or phrase from one language with a phrase or word from another language “I want a motorcycle VERDE” • Switching is systematic
Code switching • When bilinguals substitute a word or phrase from one language with a phrase or word from another language “I want a motorcycle VERDE” • The Spanish adjective “verde” follows a grammatical rule that is observed by most bilingual speakers that code-switch “I want a VERDE motorcycle” • Would be incorrect • because language switching can occur only if the adjective is placed according to the rules of the language of the adjective • In this case, the adjective is in Spanish; therefore, the adjective must follow the Spanish grammatical rule that states that the noun must precede the adjective
Code switching • Traditionally viewed (semi-lingualism) as a strategy to compensate for diminished language proficiency. • Bilinguals code-switch because they do not know either language completely • Problem: • Focus typically on written/reading rather than spoken performance • Early researchers viewed code-switching as evidence that the bilinguals’ two languages were organized in separate and distinct mental dictionaries.
Code switching • Generally, bilinguals take longer to read and comprehend sentences containing code-switched words • This is due to a “mental switch mechanism” that determines which of the bilingual’s two mental dictionaries are “on” or “off” during language comprehension. • This mental switch is responsible for selecting the appropriate mental dictionary to be employed during the comprehension of a sentence. • E.g., if reading an English, a Spanish code-switched word is encountered, the mental switch must disable the English linguistic system, and enable the Spanish linguisticsystem.
Code switching • This time difference depends on similarity of the languages • Chinese-English bilinguals take longer to recognize English code-switched words in Chinese sentences only if the English words contain initial consonant-consonant (e.g., flight) clusters, simply because the Chinese language lacks this phonotactic structure. • Another current view suggests that language dominance (i.e., which language is used more frequently) plays an importantrole in code-switching
Bilingual Representations Caramazza and Brones (1980) • Task: Spanish-English bilinguals decide whether a presented word (e.g., gun) was a member of a more general category (e.g., weapon) • Restults: it turned out not to matter whether language of the presented word matched or mismatched the language of the presented category name • This suggests a general representation of the concept is being activated; • such activation facilitates the form of the concept in either language
Bilingual Representations Kirsner and colleagues • Priming in lexical decision was not as strong when cross-language equivalents were used as primes, relative to when a word was repeated in the same language • There should be no difference if both words lead to the activation of one general (language non-specific) representation
Word Association Model Concept Mediation Model L1 L2 IMAGES CONCEPTS CONCEPTS L1 L2 IMAGES Models of the bilingual lexicons Potter et al (1984) L1=First Language L2=Second Language
Bilingual Representations A hybrid view • if words are concrete, high in frequency, or are cross-linguistic cognates of one another, they tend to be accessed via a common representation • if words are abstract, low in frequency, or non-cognates, they tend to be accessed via separate representations for each language
concepts conceptual conceptual links links lexical links L2 L1 Revised Hierarchical Model Kroll & Stewart (1994)
lexical Concrete Words L1 L2 level conceptual level L1 Abstract Words L2 L1 = First Language L2 = Second Language Distributed Feature Model DeGroot (1992)