We investigate the 'gender-congruency' effect during a spoken-word recognition task using the visual world paradigm. Eye movements of Italian-Spanish bilinguals and Spanish monolinguals were monitored while they viewed a pair of objects on a computer screen. Participants listened to instructions in Spanish (encuentra la bufanda / 'find the scarf') and clicked on the object named in the instruction. Grammatical gender of the objects' name was manipulated so that pairs of objects had the same (congruent) or different (incongruent) gender in Italian, but gender in Spanish was always congruent. Results showed that bilinguals, but not monolinguals, looked at target objects less when they were incongruent in gender, suggesting a between-language gender competition effect. In addition, bilinguals looked at target objects more when the definite article in the spoken instructions provided a valid cue to anticipate its selection (different-gender condition). The temporal dynamics of gender processing and cross-language activation in bilinguals are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language