Language scientists have discovered that bilinguals cannot easily 'switch off' one of their languages. If bilinguals cannot easily function as monolinguals, then how do they control the use of the intended language? This research program investigates the conditions that enable bilinguals to select the intended language when words and grammatical structures in both languages are available. The work will explore how some sentence contexts restrict language processing to one language alone but others encourage code switching between the bilingual's two languages. The work uses the experience of bilinguals as a window into the nature of the interactions that characterize language processing and their consequences for cognitive control.
This project has a number of broader implications. It seeks foundational knowledge about multilingualism that can inform educational issues in a society in which many learners are faced with the task of acquiring a second language after the earliest stages of childhood. The research will also contribute to the training of a diverse group of cognitive scientists by including bilingual undergraduate and graduate students and by fostering an international scientific collaboration with scientists in Spain.
|Effective start/end date||6/1/10 → 5/31/14|
- National Science Foundation: $249,694.00