The impact of cross-language phonological overlap on bilingual and monolingual toddlers' word recognition.
ABSTRACT: We examined how L2 exposure early in life modulates toddler word recognition by comparing German-English bilingual and German monolingual toddlers' recognition of words that overlapped to differing degrees, measured by number of phonological features changed, between English and German (e.g., identical, 1-feature change, 2-feature change, 3-feature change, no overlap). Recognition in English was modulated by language background (bilinguals vs. monolinguals) and by the amount of phonological overlap that English words shared with their L1 German translations. L1 word recognition remained unchanged across conditions between monolingual and bilingual toddlers, showing no effect of learning an L2 on L1 word recognition in bilingual toddlers. Furthermore, bilingual toddlers who had a later age of L2 acquisition had better recognition of words in English than those toddlers who acquired English at an earlier age. The results suggest an important role for L1 phonological experience on L2 word recognition in early bilingual word recognition.
Project description:Formal and semantic overlap across languages plays an important role in bilingual language processing systems. In the present study, Japanese (first language; L1)-English (second language; L2) bilinguals rated 193 Japanese-English word pairs, including cognates and noncognates, in terms of phonological and semantic similarity. We show that the degree of cross-linguistic overlap varies, such that words can be more or less "cognate," in terms of their phonological and semantic overlap. Bilinguals also translated these words in both directions (L1-L2 and L2-L1), providing a measure of translation equivalency. Notably, we reveal for the first time that Japanese-English cognates are "special," in the sense that they are usually translated using one English term (e.g., ??? /kooru/ is always translated as "call"), but the English word is translated into a greater variety of Japanese words. This difference in translation equivalency likely extends to other non-etymologically related, different-script languages in which cognates are all loanwords (e.g., Korean-English). Norming data were also collected for L1 age of acquisition, L1 concreteness, and L2 familiarity, because such information had been unavailable for the item set. Additional information on L1/L2 word frequency, L1/L2 number of senses, and L1/L2 word length and number of syllables is also provided. Finally, correlations and characteristics of the cognate and noncognate items are detailed, so as to provide a complete overview of the lexical and semantic characteristics of the stimuli. This creates a comprehensive bilingual data set for these different-script languages and should be of use in bilingual word recognition and spoken language research.
Project description:This study investigates whether listeners' experience with a second language learned later in life affects their use of fundamental frequency (F0) as a cue to word boundaries in the segmentation of an artificial language (AL), particularly when the cues to word boundaries conflict between the first language (L1) and second language (L2). F0 signals phrase-final (and thus word-final) boundaries in French but word-initial boundaries in English. Participants were functionally monolingual French listeners, functionally monolingual English listeners, bilingual L1-English L2-French listeners, and bilingual L1-French L2-English listeners. They completed the AL-segmentation task with F0 signaling word-final boundaries or without prosodic cues to word boundaries (monolingual groups only). After listening to the AL, participants completed a forced-choice word-identification task in which the foils were either non-words or part-words. The results show that the monolingual French listeners, but not the monolingual English listeners, performed better in the presence of F0 cues than in the absence of such cues. Moreover, bilingual status modulated listeners' use of F0 cues to word-final boundaries, with bilingual French listeners performing less accurately than monolingual French listeners on both word types but with bilingual English listeners performing more accurately than monolingual English listeners on non-words. These findings not only confirm that speech segmentation is modulated by the L1, but also newly demonstrate that listeners' experience with the L2 (French or English) affects their use of F0 cues in speech segmentation. This suggests that listeners' use of prosodic cues to word boundaries is adaptive and non-selective, and can change as a function of language experience.
Project description:The use of orthographic and phonological information in spoken word recognition was studied in a visual world task where L1 Finnish learners of L2 French (n = 64) and L1 French native speakers (n = 24) were asked to match spoken word forms with printed words while their eye movements were recorded. In Experiment 1, French target words were contrasted with competitors having a longer (<base> vs. <bague>) or a shorter word initial phonological overlap (<base> vs. <bain>) and an identical orthographic overlap. In Experiment 2, target words were contrasted with competitors of either longer (<mince> vs. <mite>) or shorter word initial orthographic overlap (<mince> vs. <mythe>) and of an identical phonological overlap. A general phonological effect was observed in the L2 listener group but not in the L1 control group. No general orthographic effects were observed in the L2 or L1 groups, but a significant effect of proficiency was observed for orthographic overlap over time: higher proficiency L2 listeners used also orthographic information in the matching task in a time-window from 400 to 700 ms, whereas no such effect was observed for lower proficiency listeners. These results suggest that the activation of orthographic information in L2 spoken word recognition depends on proficiency in L2.
Project description:Recent research has revealed that the way phonology is constructed during word production differs across languages. Dutch and English native speakers are suggested to incrementally insert phonemes into a metrical frame, whereas Mandarin Chinese speakers use syllables and Japanese speakers use a unit called the mora (often a CV cluster such as "ka" or "ki"). The present study is concerned with the question how bilinguals construct phonology in their L2 when the phonological unit size differs from the unit in their L1. Japanese-English bilinguals of varying proficiency read aloud English words preceded by masked primes that overlapped in just the onset (e.g., bark-BENCH) or the onset plus vowel corresponding to the mora-sized unit (e.g., bell-BENCH). Low-proficient Japanese-English bilinguals showed CV priming but did not show onset priming, indicating that they use their L1 phonological unit when reading L2 English words. In contrast, high-proficient Japanese-English bilinguals showed significant onset priming. The size of the onset priming effect was correlated with the length of time spent in English-speaking countries, which suggests that extensive exposure to L2 phonology may play a key role in the emergence of a language-specific phonological unit in L2 word production.
Project description:We used eye movement measures of first-language (L1) and second-language (L2) paragraph reading to investigate how the activation of multiple lexical candidates, both within and across languages, influences visual word recognition in four different age and language groups: (1) monolingual children; (2) monolingual young adults; (3) bilingual children; and (4) bilingual young adults. More specifically, we focused on within-language and cross-language orthographic neighborhood density effects, while controlling for the potentially confounding effects of orthographic neighborhood frequency. We found facilitatory within-language orthographic neighborhood density effects (i.e., words were easier to process when they had many vs. few orthographic neighbors, evidenced by shorter fixation durations) across the L1 and L2, with larger effects in children vs. adults (especially the bilingual ones) during L1 reading. Similarly, we found facilitatory cross-language neighborhood density effects across the L1 and L2, with no modulatory influence of age or language group. Taken together, our findings suggest that word recognition benefits from the simultaneous activation of visually similar word forms during naturalistic reading, with some evidence of larger effects in children and particularly those whose words may have differentially lower baseline activation levels and/or weaker links between word-related information due to divided language exposure: bilinguals.
Project description:Half of the global population can be considered bilingual. Nevertheless when faced with patients with aphasia, clinicians and therapists usually ignore the patient's second language (L2) albeit its interference in first language (L1) processing has been shown. The excellent temporal resolution by which each individual linguistic component can be gaged during word-processing, promoted the event-related potential (ERP) technique for studying language processing in healthy bilinguals and monolingual aphasia patients. However, this technique has not yet been applied in the context of bilingual aphasia. In the current study, we report on L2 interference in L1 processing using the ERP technique in bilingual aphasia. We tested four bilingual- and one trilingual patients with aphasia, as well as several young and older (age-matched with patients) healthy subjects as controls. We recorded ERPs when subjects were engaged in a semantic association judgment task on 122 related and 122 unrelated Dutch word-pairs (prime and target words). In 61 related and 61 unrelated word-pairs, an inter-lingual homograph was used as prime. In these word-pairs, when the target was unrelated to the prime in Dutch (L1), it was associated to the English (L2) meaning of the homograph. Results showed a significant effect of homograph use as a prime on early and/or late ERPs in response to word-pairs related in Dutch or English. Each patient presented a unique pattern of L2 interference in L1 processing as reflected by his/her ERP image. These interferences depended on the patient's pre- and post-morbid L2 proficiency. When the proficiency was high, the L2 interference in L1 processing was higher. Furthermore, the mechanism of interference in patients that were pre-morbidly highly proficient in L2 additionally depended on the frequency of pre-morbid L2 exposure. In summary, we showed that the mechanism behind L2 interference in L1 processing in bilingual patients with aphasia depends on a complex interaction between pre- and post-morbid L2 proficiency, pre- and post-morbid L2 exposure, impairment and the presented stimulus (inter-lingual homographs). Our ERP study complements the usually adopted behavioral approach by providing new insights into language interactions on the level of individual linguistic components in bilingual patients with aphasia.
Project description:Word retrieval in bilingual speakers partly depends on executive control systems in the left prefrontal cortex - including dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). We tested the hypothesis that DLPFC modulates word production of words specifically in a second language (L2) by measuring the effects of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (anodal-tDCS) over the DLPFC on picture naming and word translation and on event-related potentials (ERPs) and their sources. Twenty-six bilingual participants with "unbalanced" proficiency in two languages were given 20 min of 1.5 mA anodal or sham tDCS (double-blind stimulation design, counterbalanced stimulation order, 1-week intersession delay). The participants then performed the following tasks: verbal and non-verbal fluency during anodal-tDCS stimulation and first and second language (L1 and L2) picture naming and translation [forward (L1 ? L2) and backward (L2 ? L1)] immediately after stimulation. The electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded during picture naming and translation. On the behavioral level, anodal-tDCS had an influence on non-verbal fluency but neither on verbal fluency, nor on picture naming and translation. EEG measures revealed significant interactions between Language and Stimulation on picture naming around 380 ms post-stimulus onset and Translation direction and Stimulation on translation around 530 ms post-stimulus onset. These effects suggest that L2 phonological retrieval and phoneme encoding are spatially and temporally segregated in the brain. We conclude that anodal-tDCS stimulation has an effect at a neural level on phonological processes and, critically, that DLPFC-mediated activation is a constraint on language production specifically in L2.
Project description:Bilingualism is a worldwide phenomenon and provides an opportunity to understand how the brain represents language processing. Although many studies have investigated the neural mechanism of bilingualism, it still remain unclear how brain systems are involved in the second language processing. Here, we examined the neural dynamics of bilinguals with medium proficiency during auditory word processing. Korean-English (K-E) bilinguals were recruited for the study (L1: Korean and L2: English). They performed a word comprehension task on phonological and semantic aspects by hearing words. We compared their task performance, task-induced regional activity, and functional connectivity (FC) between L1 and L2 processing. Brain activation analyses revealed that L2 evoked more widespread and stronger activation in brain regions involved in auditory word processing and the increased regional activity in L2 was prominent during phonological processing. Moreover, L2 evoked up-regulation during semantic processing was associated with L2 proficiency. FC analyses demonstrated that the intra-network connectivity showed stronger in the language network (LN), dorsal attention network (DAN), and default mode network (DMN) in L2 than L1. For the L2 phonological processing, the increased FC within the DAN was positively correlated with individuals' L2 proficiency. Also, L2 semantic processing induced the enhanced internetwork connectivity between the LN and DMN. Our findings suggest that L2 processing in K-E bilinguals induces dynamic changes in the brain at a regional and network-level and FC analysis can disentangle the different networks involvement in L2 auditory word processing according to two key features: phonology and semantics.
Project description:This study investigates whether the learning of prosodic cues to word boundaries in speech segmentation is more difficult if the native and second/foreign languages (L1 and L2) have similar (though non-identical) prosodies than if they have markedly different prosodies (Prosodic-Learning Interference Hypothesis). It does so by comparing French, Korean, and English listeners' use of fundamental-frequency (F0) rise as a cue to word-final boundaries in French. F0 rise signals phrase-final boundaries in French and Korean but word-initial boundaries in English. Korean-speaking and English-speaking L2 learners of French, who were matched in their French proficiency and French experience, and native French listeners completed a visual-world eye-tracking experiment in which they recognized words whose final boundary was or was not cued by an increase in F0. The results showed that Korean listeners had greater difficulty using F0 rise as a cue to word-final boundaries in French than French and English listeners. This suggests that L1-L2 prosodic similarity can make the learning of an L2 segmentation cue difficult, in line with the proposed Prosodic-Learning Interference Hypothesis. We consider mechanisms that may underlie this difficulty and discuss the implications of our findings for understanding listeners' phonological encoding of L2 words.
Project description:Recently, considerable attention has been given to the effect of the age of acquisition (AoA) on learning a second language (L2); however, the scarcity of L2 AoA ratings has limited advancements in this field. We presented the ratings of L2 AoA in late, unbalanced Chinese-English bilingual speakers and collected the familiarity of the L2 and the corresponding Chinese translations of English words. In addition, to promote the cross-language comparison and motivate the AoA research on Chinese two-character words, data on AoA, familiarity, and concreteness of the first language (L1) were also collected from Chinese native speakers. We first reported the reliability of each rated variable. Then, we described the validity by the following three steps: the distributions of each rated variable were described, the correlations between these variables were calculated, and regression analyses were run. The results showed that AoA, familiarity, and concreteness were all significant predictors of lexical decision times. The word database can be used by researchers who are interested in AoA, familiarity, and concreteness in both the L1 and L2 of late, unbalanced Chinese-English bilingual speakers. The full database is freely available for research purposes.