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Bilingualism reduces native-language interference during novel-word learning. The goal of the present work was to examine the effects of bilingualism on adults' ability to resolve cross-linguistic inconsistencies in orthography-to-phonology mappings during novel-word learning. English monolinguals and English-Spanish bilinguals learned artificially constructed novel words that overlapped with English orthographically but diverged from English phonologically. Native-language orthographic information presented during learning interfered with encoding of novel words in monolinguals but not in bilinguals. In general, bilinguals outperformed monolinguals on the word-learning task. These findings indicate that knowledge of 2 languages facilitates word learning and shields English-Spanish bilinguals from interference associated with cross-linguistic inconsistencies in letter-to-phoneme mappings. jeplmc.
Should I stay or should I switch? A cost-benefit analysis of voluntary language switching in young and aging bilinguals. Bilinguals spontaneously switch languages in conversation even though laboratory studies reveal robust cued language switching costs. The authors investigated how voluntary-switching costs might differ when switches are voluntary. Younger (Experiments 1-2) and older (Experiment 3) Spanish-English bilinguals named pictures in 3 conditions: (a) dominant-language only, (b) nondominant-language only, and (c) using "whatever language comes to mind" (in Experiment 2, "using each language about half the time"). Most bilinguals, particularly balanced bilinguals, voluntarily mixed languages even though switching was costly. Unlike with cued switching, voluntary switching sometimes facilitated responses, switch costs were not greater for the dominant language, and age effects on language mixing and switching were limited. This suggests that the freedom to mix languages voluntarily allows unbalanced and older bilinguals to function more like balanced and younger bilinguals. Voluntary switch costs reveal an expanded role for inhibitory control in bilingual language production and imply a mandatory separation by language in bilingual lexical selection. Copyright 2009 APA, all rights reserved.
False memory in bilinguals: does switching languages increase false memories? People often receive and recount information in different languages. This experiment examined the impact of switching languages on false recall, recognition, and recognition confidence. We presented Spanish-English bilinguals with 10 lists of words associated to a critical non-presented lure, either in English or in Spanish. Each list was followed by free recall either in English or in Spanish. The final stage was a recognition test in either language. Results showed a higher proportion of veridical and false recall in English, the more dominant language, than in Spanish, the native language. Noncritical intrusions were equivalent in both languages. More importantly, false recall, false recognition, and false recognition confidence were higher across languages than within languages. The results are examined in relation to current research and interpretations of bilingual false memory. ajp