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Do bilinguals have different concepts? The case of shape and material in Japanese L2 users of English

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Vivian Cook, Arata Takahashi


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Publication metadata

Author(s): Bassetti B, Cook V, Kasai C, Sasaki M, Takahashi JA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Bilingualism

Year: 2006

Volume: 10

Issue: 2

Pages: 137-152

ISSN (print): 1367-0069

ISSN (electronic): 1756-6878

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/13670069060100020201

Notes: An experiment investigated whether Japanese speakers’ categorisation of objects and substances as shape or material is influenced by acquiring English. The hypotheses were that for simple objects the number of shape-based categorisations would increase according to experience of English and that the preference for shape and material-based categorisations of Japanese speakers of English would differ from mono¬lingual speakers of both languages. Subjects were 18 adult Japanese users of English who had lived in English-speaking countries between 6 months and 3 years (short-stay group), and 18 who had lived in English-speaking count¬ries for 3 years or more (long-stay group). Both groups preferred material responses for simple objects and substances but not for complex objects, but the long-stay group showed more shape preference than the short-stay group and also were less different from American monolinguals. These effects of acquiring a second lang¬uage on cat¬eg¬orisation have implications for conceptual representation and methodology.


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