Shaving bridges and tuning kitaraa : the effect of language switching on semantic processing

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Hut , S C A & Leminen , A 2017 , ' Shaving bridges and tuning kitaraa : the effect of language switching on semantic processing ' , Frontiers in Psychology , vol. 8 , 1438 . https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01438

Title: Shaving bridges and tuning kitaraa : the effect of language switching on semantic processing
Author: Hut, Suzanne C. A.; Leminen, Alina
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Medicum
University of Helsinki, Medicum
Date: 2017-08-29
Language: eng
Number of pages: 13
Belongs to series: Frontiers in Psychology
ISSN: 1664-1078
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/222481
Abstract: Language switching has been repeatedly found to be costly. Yet, there are reasons to believe that switches in language might benefit language comprehension in some groups of people, such as less proficient language learners. This study therefore investigated the interplay between language switching and semantic processing in groups with varying language proficiency. EEG was recorded while L2 learners of English with intermediate and high proficiency levels read semantically congruent or incongruent sentences in L2. Translations of congruent and incongruent target words were additionally presented in L1 to create intrasentential language switches. A control group of English native speakers was tested in order to compare responses to non-switched stimuli with those of L2 learners. An omnibus ANOVA including all groups revealed larger N400 responses for non-switched incongruent stimuli compared to congruent stimuli. Additionally, despite switches to L1 at target word position, semantic N400 responses were still elicited in both L2 learner groups. Further switching effects were reflected by an N400-like effect and a late positivity complex (LPC), pointing to possible parsing efforts after language switches. Our results therefore show that although language switches are associated with increased mental effort, switches may not necessarily be costly on the semantic level. This finding contributes to the ongoing discussion on language inhibition processes, and shows that, in these intermediate and high proficiency English L2 learners, semantic processes look similar to those of native speakers of English.
Subject: 515 Psychology
3112 Neurosciences
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