Bosch: Predictive processing and cross-linguistic influence in bilingual children
'The Multilingual Mind: Lecture series on multilingualism across disciplines.' Lecture 7: Jasmijn Bosch (University Milano Bicocca): Predictive processing and cross-linguistic influence in bilingual children Abstract Listeners process speech rapidly and incrementally, and monolingual children are known to use morphosyntactic cues to anticipate upcoming words from a very young age. Using a visual world eye-tracking paradigm, the present study investigated linguistic prediction in bilingual children, whose online processing may be different even when offline comprehension is on target. Specifically, we examined whether children could anticipate upcoming nouns on the basis of gender and number agreement on the preceding article. By comparing different groups of bilingual children and monolingual Italian children, we aimed to test the effects of cross-linguistic influence and language proficiency on predictive processing. In Experiment 1, we tested anticipation based on grammatical gender in German-Italian bilingual children (aged 6 to 9) living either in Italy or in Germany. The results showed that children processed sentences fast and efficiently by relying on predictive mechanisms. Furthermore, in an Italian task (but not in a German task), we found that children exhibited a ‘gender congruency effect’, i.e., they experienced cross-linguistic influence when the grammatical gender of the two languages did not overlap, leading to delayed anticipation. Both the efficiency of linguistic predictions and the likelihood of a gender congruency effect were related to children’s relative language proficiency. In Experiment 2 we tested anticipation based on grammatical gender and number in Mandarin-Italian bilingual children as compared to monolingual Italian children (aged 8 to 12), to investigate cross-linguistic influence in languages with greater typological distance. We found efficient prediction based on number in both groups, whereas processing of grammatical gender was significantly delayed for Mandarin-Italian bilinguals. One interpretation is that the discrepancy between gender and number was due to transfer, since Mandarin does not have grammatical gender while it does have a conceptual notion of number. Alternatively, the difference may have been caused by the fact that gender is an arbitrary property that requires lexical knowledge, while number is concretely linked to the referential context. Therefore, the arbitrariness of grammatical gender may be especially difficult for L2 speakers with lower proficiency levels, including bilingual children. Altogether, our results suggest that bilingual children are able to efficiently process speech in their L2 by making use of predictive mechanisms, even when they have to rely on a feature which is expressed differently in their L1. However, depending on their language proficiency, they may experience processing delays related to cross-linguistic influence. Organised by the Dept of Linguistics & Centre for Multilingualism, University of Konstanz & the Marie Curie ITN project 'The Multilingual Mind' (765556).
Interview with Jasmijn Bosch
As part of The Multilingual Mind lecture series we are interview the speakers and asking them questions about their research and background. We had the chance to speak with Jasmijn Bosch and we asked her the following three questions: 1) What do you find most fascinating about bilingual children? 2) What are the main differences between conducting studies with children compared to adults?
Korenar: Bilingualism and creativity
'The Multilingual Mind: Lecture series on multilingualism across disciplines.' Lecture 6: Michal Korenar (University of Reading): Bilingualism and creativity: The effects of bilingual experiences of interpreters and translators on cognitive control and creativity Abstract Mounting evidence suggests that bilinguals have a creative advantage compared to monolinguals. Creativity, that is the production of outcomes that are both original and useful, fuels scientific discovery, promotes societal development, and drives innovation. Evidence offering a possible explanation for the link between creativity and bilingualism comes largely from studies which investigate the effects of bilingualism on cognitive control (CC) —a set of mental processes that enable humans to control their behaviour to achieve goals. CC is thought to (i.) be enhanced in bilinguals due to persistent conflict in their minds from choosing between two competing linguistic alternatives, and to (ii.) play a prominent role in creative thinking. However, research on both cognitive control and creativity in bilinguals has yielded divergent results as not all the previous studies presented evidence that bilinguals hold an advantage in cognitive control (Paap et al., 2016) or creativity (Lange et al., 2020). Notably, studies on CC in bilinguals which considered bilingual experience-based factors such as age of acquisition, frequency and quality of switching between languages, or immersion in a bilingual environment, produced far more consistent results (Luk & Bialystok, 2013). A similar trend can be found in the literature on creativity in bilinguals, since code-switching practices (Kharkhurin & Wei, 2015), language proficiency (Hommel et al., 2011), or training in interpreting (Kim & Lim, 2019) impact on creativity. These results challenge the common assumption that bilinguals are more creative in general and highlight the need to consider individual bilingual experiences when investigating creativity in bilinguals. In the present project, I aim to throw new light on the relationship between bilingual experiences and creative thinking in a study among three groups of Czech-English bilinguals (n=114) who are expected to differ widely in terms of their bilingual experiences: interpreters (n = 29), translators (n = 37) and bilinguals without professional experience (n = 47). The participants completed two commonly used creativity tasks, a CC task, intelligence test, and questionnaires measuring participants’ length of exposure to both languages, the age of onset of language acquisition, language proficiency, immersion in bilingual language use, and engagement in code-switching. Such a wide range of measures of the bilingual experience constitutes an unprecedented opportunity to rigorously investigate the relationship between bilingualism and creative thinking. I will argue that interpreters and translators differ systematically from those who do not use two languages in their professional lives, and that differences in the bilingual experience of these groups impact on their performance on tasks measuring CC and creativity. This study therefore illustrates that the everyday life experience of bilinguals needs to be studied carefully in studies of CC and creativity. The talk concludes by presentation of future directions of this research, including the planned analyses of MRI data, and implications for studies on bilingualism and creativity in general. Organised by the Dept of Linguistics & Centre for Multilingualism, University of Konstanz & the Marie Curie ITN project 'The Multilingual Mind' (765556).
Interview with Michal Korenar
As part of The Multilingual Mind lecture series we are interview the speakers and asking them questions about their research and their background. We had the chance to speak with Michal Korenar and we asked him the following three questions: 1) How do you experience multilingualism in your own life? 2) How are bilingualism and creativity connected? 3) Would you consider yourself a creative person?
Tsimpli: Multilingualism in underprivileged contexts
'The Multilingual Mind: Lecture series on multilingualism across disciplines.' Lecture 5: Prof Ianthi Tsimpli (University of Cambridge): Multilingualism in underprivileged contexts Abstract Much research in multilingualism and its effects on cognition and language ability has focused on individuals in western societies. Socioeconomic status, language of education and language prestige have been identified as some of the factors that appear to influence bi/multilingual individuals’ linguistic and cognitive skills although most research on the role of bilingualism on cognition has not considered such factors in much detail. I will focus on multilingualism in India, one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world (UNESCO, 2009). Linguistic variation across Indian children is vast and includes variation in the number of home languages used, societal/community languages, official medium of instruction in schools and actual language practices in the classroom. As language is the primary vehicle of education and learning, variation in any of the above measures of multilingualism can affect the language experience of the school child and have knock-on effects on the development of school skills (basic and higher literacy and numeracy), or cognition. Focusing on data from the MultiLila project (Tsimpli et al, 2019) from primary school children coming from deprived to severely deprived socioeconomic backgrounds, I will try to disentangle how language experience, linguistic diversity in the child’s immediate environment (school, family, community) and the medium of instruction affect learners’ school skills and cognitive abilities. Organised by the Dept of Linguistics & Centre for Multilingualism, University of Konstanz & the Marie Curie ITN project 'The Multilingual Mind' (765556).
Interview with Prof Ianthi Tsimpli
As part of The Multilingual Mind lecture series we are interview the speakers and asking them questions about their research and their background. We had the chance to talk with Prof Ianthi Tsimpli. We asked her two question: 1.) What motivated you to start doing research in India? 2.) How does multilingualism differ in India compared to Europe?
Brehmer: Age effects in bilingual acquisition: Observations from Polish-German bilinguals
'The Multilingual Mind: Lecture series on multilingualism across disciplines.' Lecture 4: Prof Dr Bernhard Brehmer (University of Konstanz): Age effects in bilingual acquisition: Observations from different groups of Polish-German bilinguals Abstract The impact of age on the linguistic development of bilinguals is one of the core issues in research on bilingualism, both with regard to language acquisition and attrition. Age can be investigated from different perspectives: First, the chronological age of bilingual individuals represents an important benchmark for evaluating the degree of attainment (or attrition) in both languages. Second, age of onset, i.e. the age when exposure to the respective languages began, has led to the distinction between different types of bilinguals in language acquisition research (simultaneous bilinguals, early sequential bilinguals, adult L2 learners etc.). In my talk, I am going to address both issues by looking at (i) different age groups of Polish-German bilinguals and (ii) different types of Polish-German bilinguals according to their age of onset (simultaneous vs. early successive bilinguals). The focus will be on Polish and on the acquisition of two properties: (a) null subjects and (b) word order in complex predicates. Polish is a prototypical pro-drop language which allows the omission of subject pronouns because the subject referent can be easily established due to subject-verb agreement. Furthermore, infinitives normally immediately follow the auxiliary in case of compound predicates in Polish, but discontinuous structures may occur due to requirements of information structure. In three research projects we first investigated the acquisition (and attrition) of both properties in several age groups of Polish-German bilinguals who grew up in Germany with Polish as their heritage language: (i) child bilinguals (aged 3-10), (ii) adolescent bilinguals (aged 15-17) and young adult bilinguals (aged 19-38). In another project, we looked at the effect of age of onset for the acquisition of both properties and depending on the status of Polish as a heritage language (Polish-German bilinguals growing up in Germany) and as a majority language (Polish-German bilinguals growing up in Poland). In the current talk, I will present some of the main results of these research projects which revealed an interesting interplay of (delayed) acquisition and subsequent attrition as well as age of onset effects in the acquisition of both properties. Organised by the Dept of Linguistics & Centre for Multilingualism, University of Konstanz & the Marie Curie ITN project 'The Multilingual Mind' (765556).
Interview with Prof Bernhard Brehmer
As part of The Multilingual Mind lecture series we are interview the speakers and asking them questions about their research and their background. We had the chance to talk with Prof Bernhard Brehmer. We asked him two question: 1.) What motivated you to start doing research on heritage language speakers? 2.) Do you think that the measure that were taken due to COVID (e.g. schools closing, parents working from home...) had at least positive effects on heritage languages?
Interview with Sarah von Grebmer zu Wolfsthurn
As part of The Multilingual Mind lecture series we are interview the speakers and asking them questions about their research and their background. We had the chance to talk with Sarah von Grebmer zu Wolfsthurn before her lecture on the 17 of Nov 2020. She talked with us about why she started a PhD in multilingualism and what fascinates her most about the multilingual brain.
von Grebmer zu Wolfsthurn: Cross-linguistic interference in multilingual speakers-an ERP study
The Multilingual Mind: lecture series on multilingualism across disciplines Lecture 3: Sarah von Grebmer zu Wolfsthurn, Leticia Pablos Robles and Niels O. Schiller (Leiden University): Cross-linguistic interference in multilingual speakers - an ERP study Acquiring foreign languages, in particular grammatical gender in adulthood has been associated with a number of difficulties in terms of reaching native-like proficiency levels, for which studies have suggested a biological or social basis. This study is focused on another potential explanation, also known as cross-linguistic interference (hereafter CLI). This is the interaction of the gender systems of languages learners already know (i.e. they are fluent in) and those that they are in the process of learning. The study aimed to investigate whether and how gender congruency and cognate status modulate cross-linguistic interference effects in low-proficient late language learners. Our participants were German native speakers with a B1/B2 level of Spanish. The aims of the study were the following: first, we explored CLI from a behavioural perspective as well as an electrophysiological (EEG) perspective. We wanted to explore the following questions: whether processing accuracy and response latencies of Spanish noun phrases was modulated by gender congruency and cognate status, whether a P600 effect could be present in late language learners, and finally, whether this P600 effect was modulated by gender congruency or cognate status. Behavioural results demonstrated cross-linguistic interference of grammatical gender systems. Further, we present evidence for the sensitivity of late learners to syntactic violations (P600 effect) already in early acquisition stages. However, participants did not seem to be susceptible to influences from inherent noun properties such as gender congruency and cognate status, which provides limited evidence for traceable CLI effects at the neuronal level. Our results not only provide a novel insight into cross-linguistic interference in late language learners, but also contribute to the discussion around the neural correlates of grammatical gender processing and sensitivity to syntactic violations in early acquisition stages. Organised by the Dept of Linguistics & Centre for Multilingualism, University of Konstanz & the Marie Curie ITN project 'The Multilingual Mind' (765556)
Interview with Prof Jeanine Treffers-Daller
As part of The Multilingual Mind lecture series we are interview the speakers and asking them questions about their research and their background. We had the chance to talk with Prof Jeanine Treffers-Daller. If you want to know what fascinates her most about research and why she thinks research on multilingualism is important take a look at the video.
Interview with Prof Theodoros Marinis
As part of The Multilingual Mind lecture series we are interview the speakers and asking them questions about their research and their background. We had the chance to talk with Prof Theodoros Marinis. If you want to find out how he experiences multilingualism in his everyday life and what motivated him to start doing research on multilingualism have a look at the interview.
Treffers-Daller:Explaining individual differences in Executive Function performance in multilinguals
'The Multilingual Mind: Lecture series on multilingualism across disciplines.' Lecture 2: Prof Jeanine Treffers-Daller (University of Reading): Explaining individual differences in Executive Functions performance in multilinguals: the impact of code-switching and alternating between Multicultural Identity Styles This study sheds new light on the relative impact of code-switching and culture on Executive Functions (EFs) in bilinguals. The evidence on the relative contribution of culture and bilingualism to executive functions is not well understood, because disentangling language, culture and immigration status is very difficult. The novelty of our approach was to keep the language pair and immigration status constant, whilst the cultural identity of participants was systematically varied, and measured at the individual level (not just at group level). Two groups of Turkish-English bilinguals, all adult immigrants to the UK, took part in the study, but one group (n = 29) originated from mainland Turkey and the other (n=28) from Cyprus. We found that the bilinguals experienced smaller Conflict Effects on a Flanker task measuring inhibition, by comparison with monolingual British participants (n= 30). The key variable explaining EF performance variance at the individual level was bilinguals’ Multicultural Identity Style. In particular those who indicated that they attempted to alternate between different British and Turkish (Cypriot) identity styles were found to have shorter RTs on incongruent trials of the Flanker task. The two multicultural identity variables together explained 32% in EFs (overall explained variance 49%). Thus, the data provide strong evidence for the impact of culture on EFs. We suggest that it is multiculturals’ daily practice in alternating between cultural frames (or mixing these) which gives them a training in context-sensitivity, and this gives them an advantage over monolinguals in a Flankers task. Our approach, which brings together models from cross-cultural psychology, bilingualism and executive functioning, illustrates the importance of theory building in which sociolinguistic and cultural variables are integrated into models of EFs. Organised by the Dept of Linguistics & Centre for Multilingualism, University of Konstanz & the Marie Curie ITN project 'The Multilingual Mind' (765556).
Marinis & Özge: How do bilingual children acquire complex syntax in the heritage & majority language
'The Multilingual Mind: Lecture series on multilingualism across disciplines.' Lecture 1: Prof Dr Theodoros Marinis (University of Konstanz) & Duygu Özge (Middle East Technical University): How do bilingual children acquire complex syntax in their heritage vs. the majority language: Turkish-English speaking children in the UK Abstract There is growing research on the acquisition of heritage (minority) languages but the vast majority of studies has focused on the heritage language without comparing it to the majority language. In this talk we will present data from a study investigating how bilingual Turkish-English children growing up in the UK acquire relative clauses (RCs) in both Turkish and English and how the pattern of acquisition compares to monolingual children growing up in Turkey and in the UK. RCs are syntactically complex structures that develop relatively late and show cross-linguistic differences between Turkish and English in terms of word order and morpho-syntax. As a result, they offer an opportunity to investigate whether or not they will be missing or not fully acquired in the heritage language as well as whether there will be effects of cross-linguistic influence from the stronger/majority language (English) to the weaker/heritage language (Turkish) or vice versa. Organised by the Dept of Linguistics & Centre for Multilingualism, University of Konstanz & the Marie Curie ITN project 'The Multilingual Mind' (765556).
COM2020- Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism
COM2020 Day 1 Migration session: Olioumtsevits, Papadopoulou and Marinis
Please note that you can turn on subtitling by selecting the option on the video settings. Konstantina Olioumtsevits, Despina Papadopoulou and Theodoros Marinis: Vocabulary learning in migrant and refugee children: teaching and assessment approaches
Judith Kroll's MultiMind lecture: "The fate of the native language in second language learning"
This clip presents Judith Kroll's lecture: "The fate of the native language in second language earning: A new hypothesis about bilingualism, mind and brain". The lecture was delivered on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 as part of the Multimind Krakow Training school organised by Zofia Wodniecka at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. The training school was part of the Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Network "The Multilingual Mind". For more information, see: https://www.multilingualmind.eu/, @MultiMind_ITN, facebook: MultilingualMind, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstract An enduring question about second language (L2) learning is why there are apparent constraints on the ability of adult learners to understand and speak the L2. Past research suggests that these constraints reflect characteristics of adult learners and the nature of the language learning contexts available to them. We propose a new hypothesis that shifts the focus to consider how a model of proficient adult bilingualism may provide new insights into late L2 learning. The critical observation is that proficient bilinguals are not monolingual-like in their native language. The new hypothesis is that successful adult L2 learners are individuals who are able to effectively change the native language to accommodate the L2 and to negotiate the cross-language competition that characterizes proficient bilingualism. The hypothesized changes may involve processing costs that initially slow the native language and make performance more error prone, make learners less sensitive to some features of the native language, and that open the native language to the influences of the L2. We review evidence from studies of language processing and brain imaging in bilinguals and L2 learners. High levels of cognitive resources and immersion in the L2 may enhance successful learning but what is hypothesized to be fundamental is change to the native language that functionally allows the L2 to develop as part of the language system. That process also gives rise to the ability to regulate the native language in a manner that may provide a basis for understanding some of the cognitive and neural consequences of bilingualism.