Experience with code-switching modulates the use of grammatical gender during sentence processing

Jorge R.Valdés Kroff, Paola E. Dussias, Chip Gerfen, Lauren Perrotti, M. Teresa Bajo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Using code-switching as a tool to illustrate how language experience modulates comprehension, the visual world paradigm was employed to examine the extent to which gender-marked Spanish determiners facilitate upcoming target nouns in a group of Spanish-English bilingual code-switchers. The first experiment tested target Spanish nouns embedded in a carrier phrase (Experiment 1b) and included a control Spanish monolingual group (Experiment 1a). The second set of experiments included critical trials in which participants heard code-switches from Spanish determiners into English nouns (e.g., la house) either in a fixed carrier phrase (Experiment 2a) or in variable and complex sentences (Experiment 2b). Across the experiments, bilinguals revealed an asymmetric gender effect in processing, showing facilitation only for feminine target items. These results reflect the asymmetric use of gender in the production of code-switched speech. The extension of the asymmetric effect into Spanish (Experiment 1b) underscores the permeability between language modes in bilingual code-switchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-198
Number of pages36
JournalLinguistic Approaches to Bilingualism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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