A PSYCHOLINGUISTIC STUDY OF NATIVE LANGUAGE CONSTRAINTS ON SPEAKING WORDS IN A SECOND LANGUAGE

Open Access
Author:
Hoshino, Noriko
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
September 20, 2006
Committee Members:
  • Judith Fran Kroll, Committee Chair
  • Paola Eulalia Dussias, Committee Member
  • Richard Alan Carlson, Committee Member
  • Daniel J Weiss, Committee Member
  • Henry J Gerfen, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • language production
  • bilingualism
Abstract:
Past research on bilingual production has been performed almost exclusively with bilinguals whose two languages share the same Roman alphabets. However, little research has examined the consequences of different script bilingualism on production. The primary goal of the present research was to determine whether language-specific differences, such as script, can modulate cross-language activation and the locus and manner of language selection in planning spoken words. To address this question, three experiments (simple picture naming, picture-word interference, and language switching) compared the performance of Japanese-English and Spanish-English bilinguals. In Experiment 1, bilinguals named cognate and noncognate pictures in each language. The results showed that both groups produced significant cognate facilitation in each language. The findings suggest that in the absence of the written lexical form, script differences do not function as a language cue to reduce cross-language activation. Furthermore, both languages appear to be activated to the level of the phonology. In Experiment 2, bilinguals named pictures in their L2 while ignoring visually presented distractor words in the L1. A critical finding in Experiment 2 was that both types of bilinguals showed phonological and translation facilitation, whereas only Spanish-English bilinguals demonstrated semantic interference and phono-translation facilitation. These results suggest that when the script is present in the task, different-script bilinguals are able to exploit perceptual information as a language cue to lexical access earlier than same script bilinguals. In Experiment 3, the bilinguals performed two language switching tasks, one with pictures and another with words. In each experiment they produced two names in L1 and two names in L2 in strict alternation. Although the two bilingual groups were similar in picture naming, Japanese-English bilinguals were slower in L2 than Spanish-English bilinguals in word naming, suggesting again that script differences create costs in mapping of orthography to phonology in L2. Taken together, the results of the three experiments suggest that although script differences cannot direct lexical access selectively, they allow the bilingual to select the language of production at an earlier point in speech planning when they are perceptually available. Implications for models of lexical access in bilingual production are discussed.