Lexical Transfer in Welsh-English Bilinguals: An Eye-tracking Study
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Previous studies have provided evidence for interference and interaction between the languages of sequential bilinguals (e.g. Altvater-Mackensen & Mani, 2011; Gollan, Bonanni, & Montoya, 2005; Marian & Spivey, 2003). The present study aims to develop this research by examining the nature and extent of interference between the languages of simultaneous Welsh-English bilinguals. Eight simultaneous Welsh-English bilinguals and eight English monolingual controls were subjected to an English word recognition task. Participants were presented with English auditory input and a series of picture sets which included a target, distractor and two filler pictures, as well as a series of control sets (target and three filler pictures). Distractor picture words had the same form in Welsh as the target picture, but a different meaning. Eye-tracking methodology was used to measure the number of looks to non-target pictures as well as participants‟ response latencies to target picture fixation. Bilingual participants were also subjected to a Welsh test which followed the same format as the English test; however distractor picture words had the same form as the target pictures in English, but a different meaning. Results revealed that the bilingual group did not look at non-target pictures more frequently than the monolingual group and their response latencies were no longer as a result. However, within-subjects comparisons revealed evidence that the bilingual group looked at non-target pictures more frequently in trials with distractor pictures than in trials without, and their response latencies were longer as a result. Further, looks to non-target pictures and response latencies were greater in the Welsh than in the English test. These findings suggest that there is a degree of interference between the languages of Welsh-English bilinguals, and this interference is greater when the base language is Welsh.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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