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The time cost of mixed-language processing: an investigation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Howard


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Does it take bilinguals longer to process mixed-language information? This study explores, in two reaction time experiments, the hypothesis that there is only a cost to language switching when the switch is unexpected in the context. Prior to the experiments, ail on-line language test and a linguistic background questionnaire were employed to select the bilingual participants. In experiment 1, the subjects, who were Mandarin Chinese-Taiwanese bilinguals, were led to think that Mandarin Chinese was the contextually appropriate language, and were slower to respond on a language switch trial. In experiment 2, the participants were led to think that both languages were contextually appropriate, and were not slower to respond on a language switch trial. The data support Grosjean's language mode hypothesis on the mixed-language processing cost, and show that the cost is a result of context rather than ail inevitable consequence of a switch.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cheng YL, Howard D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Bilingualism

Year: 2008

Volume: 12

Issue: 3

Pages: 209-222

ISSN (print): 1367-0069

ISSN (electronic): 1756-6878

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/1367006908098568


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